Medway Council has bid for £170million of central government funding to help unlock the potential on the Hoo Peninsula.
Medway is one of just 45 local authorities across the country which the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced was able to bid for a grant from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, after successfully getting through the first round of the process.
The Housing Infrastructure Fund is a government capital grant programme of up to £5.5billion which will help deliver a potential 600,000 new homes across England.
Medway has been set a challenging housing target by central government and this fund, if successful, would help the unitary authority work towards achieving its target. Funding will be awarded to local authorities on a highly competitive basis, providing grant funding for new infrastructure that will unlock new homes in the areas of greatest housing demand.
Medway would use the funding to help transform the Hoo Peninsula, including significantly improving the roads and rail connections. Medway Council and Network Rail have worked together to explore options for upgrading an existing freight railway line for use by passengers to connect the Hoo Peninsula to neighbouring boroughs and beyond, including London. The opportunity has enabled the council to explore options to deliver a new relief road to reduce pressure on the A228 and Four Elms roundabout.
Work to form Medway’s Local Plan, which sets out the council’s vision for how Medway will develop up until 2035, is ongoing and while the plan will have a regeneration basis, proposals currently include focusing some growth into a small rural town around Hoo St Werburgh.
Medway is on a journey to provide its residents with more choice and the council’s vision is to deliver growth for all its residents over the next 20 years. The funding would also be used to provide investment in Medway’s green spaces and shoreline, including a country park and wetland enhancements to benefit both wildlife and residents. This will deliver sustainable growth across Medway, at the same time as providing new homes as required by central government. The Housing Infrastructure Fund will also unlock further investment and growth through developer contributions, providing additional social infrastructure, such as schools and health provision.