Medway is one of just 51 areas across the country which is going through to the second phase of a multi-million funding bid which aims to transform high streets and make them fit for the future.
Medway Council submitted an expression of interest to the government’s Future High Streets Fund in March for a share of £675 million to further transform Chatham High Street. The council has now been asked to draw up detailed proposals, based on the initial plans.
The Future High Streets Fund could unlock £14million which would be invested into Chatham to further economic growth, increase housing, create more jobs and provide a vibrant town centre experience.
Chatham attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It is steeped in military history with the historic dockyard and Fort Amherst. The Brook and Central Theatres attract 130,000 visits a year. Medway is the largest conurbation between London and continental Europe, with a growing population of 276,000. The area is positioned to become the main urban centre for the Thames Estuary and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership area.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will work closely with the local authorities which have made it through to the second round.
Continuing to help our high streets thrive
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “We are delighted that we are just one of a few councils across the country which have successfully made it through to the next phase of bidding. Chatham already has a lot to offer and we are committed to providing Medway residents and businesses with more opportunities. If successful, this funding will further support Chatham’s ongoing transformation works and make the area an even better place to live, work, learn and visit. It will also help us work towards our ambition of Chatham becoming Medway’s waterfront university city centre by 2035. It is a very exciting time for Chatham; we have invested heavily in the area, including acquiring the Pentagon Shopping Centre, and we remain committed to continuing to help our high streets thrive.”
Chatham has been recognised by government
Commenting on the success, Christian Brodie, Chairman of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The competition was very strong and we are delighted that the potential for Chatham has been recognised by Government.
“Medway joins Dartford and Newhaven in our area, in getting through the first round. All three councils put compelling cases forward for Government support to help reinvigorate their respective town centres which play a vital role in sustaining our local communities and supporting economic growth and new jobs.”