Regulation 18 Consultation – Setting the Direction for Medway 2040
3. Vision for Medway in 2040
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3.1 The policies and growth strategy in the new Plan will deliver the vision for what we want to achieve for Medway by 2040. Our thoughts for what this vision could look like are set out below. The vision encompasses all aspects of policies in the new Local Plan, including transport, environment, retail and waste and minerals.
The plan's vision is to establish Medway as a leading regional city, connected to its surrounding coast and countryside; with a thriving economy, where residents enjoy a good quality of life and there is a clear strategy for addressing climate change and strengthening natural assets.
By 2040, Medway is responding and adapting to climate change, providing for more sustainable and resilient development.
Medway has secured the best of its intrinsic heritage and landscapes alongside high quality development to strengthen the area's distinctive character. Medway has achieved 'green growth', development that has responded positively to tackling climate change, providing for healthier and more sustainable choices of homes, transport and workplaces, and reducing the risk of flooding. The countryside, coast and the urban open spaces are valued and benefit as joined up environmental assets in a resilient green infrastructure network. Important wildlife and heritage assets are protected and enhanced. Medway has transitioned to a low carbon economy, with a clear path mapped out to reaching 'net zero'.
Improved travel choices and infrastructure have reduced the use of the car across Medway, with people benefitting from better provision for pedestrians and cyclists, and a greater public transport offer. This has transformed how people move through the central urban areas and strengthened the connections with wider neighbourhoods and villages.
Medway is defined by its river and estuaries. The urban waterfront is animated and accessible. Continuous riverside paths provide attractive and healthy connections, a draw for visitors and residents. The rural character of the Medway Valley and the Medway and Thames estuaries are valued landscapes and habitats are in good condition. There are new opportunities for river transport.
Medway is a healthy place in which to live and work. People can move around more easily, with good walking and cycling links and clean air. All sectors of the community can enjoy the outdoors, with spaces designed for play, leisure, access and rest. People have a choice of affordable and healthy food and can grow their own. Public spaces are inclusive, designed with care and imagination for all to share. People can meet most of their daily needs in their local area, such as schools, grocery shopping and places to socialise and exercise.
All sectors and ages of the community can find decent places to live. The quality of new development has enhanced Medway's profile, and driven up environmental standards in construction, and older properties have been retro-fitted to improve sustainability. Custom and self-build housing has provided new living opportunities for residents. Investment in new services and infrastructure, such as transport, schools, healthcare and open spaces, has supported housebuilding to provide a good quality of life for residents.
Our high streets and centres have developed new uses and attractions in response to changes in retail, leisure and work patterns. Medway benefits from a network of centres that reflect the distinct character of its different towns, neighbourhoods and villages.
Medway is a leading economic player in the region, supporting the growth of its business base and attracting new investment. It has capitalised on its cluster of higher and further education providers to raise skills levels across the workforce. Graduates and the wider workforce can develop their future careers in quality jobs in Medway. There is a broad portfolio of employment sites. Derelict sites at Grain and Kingsnorth on the Hoo Peninsula have been transformed into thriving economic hubs. Medway is known for its innovation and creativity, with businesses adapted to changes in the economy and the environment, and leading in green growth and technology, benefitting from excellent digital connectivity. High streets are sought after locations for a range of businesses, providing space for start-ups and co-working facilities that reduce people's need to commute. Medway's farmland produces quality food and drink and is contributing to the management of natural resources.
Medway's economic mineral resources may be worked to meet needs and will be safeguarded from unnecessary sterilisation and for use by future generations. Wharves and rail depots continue to be utilised for the importation and distribution of minerals and will be safeguarded for this purpose. A positive legacy will be left by mineral supply development in Medway.
Waste is managed as far up the Waste Hierarchy as possible to achieve a more circular economy.