We are delighted to announce that Medway will be entering the Civic Honours competition which has been launched to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
Her Majesty The Queen has agreed for a competition to be held to grant the prestigious and rare civic honours of ‘city status’ to a select number of towns and cities in the United Kingdom.
Since the last competition Medway has taken huge steps forward as a place. With a relentless focus on growth for all, Medway has succeeded in attracting millions of pounds of new investment to the area demonstrating confidence in our ambitious regeneration agenda which has seen flagship schemes such as Rochester Riverside and Victory Pier creating new homes for Medway’s growing population. The number of businesses in Medway has increased by more than 11 per cent since 2016 and the area’s GVA has increased by 42 per cent in the last 10 years from £4.1billion in 2010 to £5.9billion in 2019, according to the government’s latest provisional figures.
All Medway’s secondary schools, special schools and academies are rated good or better by Ofsted, and 89 per cent of Medway’s primary schools and academies have similar ratings.
Medway’s city centre, Chatham, is continuing to transform into a vibrant place to live, work, eat and shop as a result of a number of government and partner investments with the council. Medway is just one of 72 areas across the country to benefit from the government’s Future High Streets Fund. We received just under £9.5million which will be invested in Chatham to further economic growth, improve housing opportunities with mixed commercial use, create more jobs and provide a vibrant town centre experience. In 2017 we secured £4million from the government’s Local Growth Fund, through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, to begin Chatham’s transformation into a thriving city centre. The funding was used to create an improved sense of arrival from the railway station to the waterfront as well as other projects including the Command of the Heights heritage project and renovations of Chatham railway station. Last month we received an £80,000 grant from Historic England as part of its High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme to create and deliver community-led cultural activities over the next three years. Under the wider scheme, a £3.2million improvement programme will be undertaken in the Star Hill to Sun Pier Conservation Area, which covers parts of Chatham and Rochester high streets.
Our recent acquisition of the Pentagon Centre, and aspirations for Mountbatten House, alongside the Waterfront and Garrison Point developments, which will provide high-quality housing in the city centre, demonstrate our commitment to ensuring Medway continues to thrive, supporting our economy, local businesses and jobs.
This will be the first time in 10 years that Her Majesty awards civic honours and the occasion comes as part of celebrations to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
We have so much to be proud of in Medway
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “It is wonderful news that a civic honours competition will be one of the ways we will be celebrating this tremendous milestone of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 and I am delighted that Medway will be entering the contest. We have so much to be proud of in Medway, including everything that has been achieved in the past ten years, and we want to make the people of Medway proud to take part in this city status bid.
“In many respects we believe that Medway is already a city in all but name. Medway’s five towns and Hoo peninsula give us a population of 280,000 people and growing, we have more than 14,000 businesses, and with the finest and tallest Norman castle in the country, the second oldest cathedral in the country to the world class heritage of the Historic Dockyard Chatham, we have a rich heritage and a great future, our cultural scene is thriving and our stunning green spaces, with eight recognised by the Green Flag award scheme, amount to more than 13 Hyde Parks in size.
“Our sights are firmly fixed on the future with many exciting plans and developments on the horizon. We are bidding to become UK City of Culture in 2025, and our Child-Friendly City agenda is putting children and young people at the heart of everything we do. Our commitment to Medway the Place is clear through all our Placemaking working with our outstanding partners and our ambitious regeneration plans will continue to create new homes and jobs for local people, particularly the exciting £170million investment in infrastructure on the Hoo peninsula and our new business park, Innovation Park Medway, in Rochester, will support the development of up to 101,000 square metres of high value technology, advanced manufacturing, engineering and knowledge-intensive businesses.
“Achieving city status would bring significant benefits to residents and businesses across Medway putting us firmly on the map and shining a spotlight on all we have to offer.”