Like so many, Medway has been my home since birth and I expect to carry on living here for many years to come. That is why I want our Local Plan to be visionary and ensure our towns become prosperous and continue to be wonderful places to call home.
Since I was elected in 2015 Medway's Local Plan has been one of my biggest focuses, and it is my belief that this the single most important issue facing Medway over the next twenty years. It is therefore vital we get it right at the first time of asking.
With Medway growing at a rapid pace, it has been assessed that there will be a minimum housing need of 29,463 by 2035 - with a second contested figure of 38,000 - which is a staggering number for our area already lacking infrastructure to support current demographics. Following a number of meetings I held with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government officials it is clear that the housing need is finite, however it was also stressed that when it comes to deliverability it is entirely in Medway’s hands to prove what we can realistically achieve without compromising our communities future.
I have engaged in the recent consultations and have also met officials from Medway Council on several occasions and have repeatedly stressed that we need a vision for Medway that we can all be proud of and get behind. Fundamentally, I struggle to envision how we can sustainably deliver 29,463 homes in twenty years. At the end of the day, we are talking about a minimum of five more Lodge Hills! Our local infrastructure is already under immense pressure due to the strain of our current growth rate so sustainability for such a drastic increase of homes is a monumental challenge.
Medway is a great place to live and work and I am sure we all want to see it grow in prosperity in line with the historic communities and characteristics we all know and love. To achieve this it is therefore vital our Plan encapsulates a vision and aspiration whereby we can all be proud in twenty years’ time.
This remains my number one priority as I look to help Medway achieve its potential, and I will look forward to working closely with the Council and our elected councillors as I take this ambition forwards. I encourage everyone to engage with the current consultation and make your feelings known on how you want Medway to look: https://www.medway.gov.uk/info/200149/planning_policy/519/future_medway_local_plan/3