North Kent has been neglected for some time when it comes to investment, and since the closure of the dockyards and the cement industry Medway sadly suffered but we now have a great opportunity to put our area and the wonderful things we have to shout about back on the map.
The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission is going to directly shape our area for the next 34 years and so it is only right that we, as residents of the region, understand what benefits will be brought to our community and have a real say in its objectives.
It is vital we put forward our views to the likes of the Commission and Medway Council so we can positively shape the future of our region. Given our important transport links to the Continent and South East ports, the North Kent region is hugely important to the wider economy. It is therefore only right that we receive our fair share of the Government’s plans for national infrastructure and economic development.
We are set for lots of change across North Kent in the coming years with an increase of housing and other developments, amongst other major proposed projects, so it is a priority to ensure this is sustainable while delivering economic growth. Major projects such as the Lower Thames Crossing are welcome on a wider basis but at the same time it has to work for local people; facilitating better transport and business rather than adding further pressures to our roads.
Medway does have a good record of successful funding bids in recent years, including funds to develop areas of Strood, increase capacity at Medway Maritime Hospital and is shortlisted for a significant Housing Infrastructure Fund which will allow for the Hoo rail link, plus many other project funds.
I will continue to lobby for the best ideas and stand firmly against those that would only profit out of our area while causing irreconcilable damage to communities. This includes ensuring we get improvements beyond the new Thames Crossing, particularly along the A228 and A289, which in turn will help industry developing on the Peninsula, as well as looking where we might have a second Medway Tunnel, additional health and education services, more and longer commuter trains and stronger tourism infrastructure.
As a lifelong resident of North Kent with great hopes for our community’s future, this will be an area that remains high on my agenda over the course of this parliament and I hope to be able to provide positive outcomes in the near future.