Regulation 18 Consultation – Setting the Direction for Medway 2040

Ended on the 31 October 2023

4. Strategic objectives

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4.1 The role of the Local Plan is to plan positively for the development and infrastructure that the area needs, whilst conserving and enhancing the natural, built and historic environment. The Council needs to clearly define what it wants to achieve from the new Plan – what are the issues to address, and what improvements and changes are sought. These are set out as strategic objectives for the Plan. The objectives will feed into the wording of policies and how sites and different locations are assessed for potential development. The objectives are presented around broad themes for the environment, communities, economy, and investment in infrastructure and design that is fit for the future.

4.2 The proposed objectives for the Plan are:

Prepared for a sustainable and green future

  • To deliver on the Council's commitment to addressing the Climate Emergency, providing resilience to temperature and climate change through seeking adaptations and mitigation measures, including opportunities to promote carbon reduction and support the transition to 'zero carbon', and reduce the risk of flooding; promoting the use of nature-based solutions to climate change; seeking to protect the most vulnerable groups from the impacts of climate change; and supporting major shifts in modes of transport used to reduce carbon impacts.
  • To strengthen and develop transport networks providing safe and effective choices for sustainable travel, including improved opportunities for walking and cycling and enhanced public transport services, and management of the highways network, with associated improvements in air quality.
  • To secure a robust green and blue infrastructure network across land and water that protects and enhances the assets of the natural and historic environments in urban and rural Medway; providing resilience for nature through better connectivity and conditions; informing the design and sustainability of new development; and supporting healthier lifestyles.
  • To ensure the effective management of natural resources, including water and soil, and improving air quality, providing for the sustainable supply of minerals and minimising the production of waste, enabling it to be managed as far up the Waste Hierarchy as possible.

Supporting people to lead healthy lives and strengthening our communities

  • To provide for high quality energy efficient homes that meet the housing needs of Medway's communities, reflecting the range of sizes, types and affordability the area needs, including provision for specialist housing, such as for people with disabilities, gypsy and traveller accommodation, the elderly including those wanting to down size, students, first homes, and custom and self-build housing; and drive reductions in the carbon impacts of housing in new developments and securing opportunities for retro-fitting older properties.
  • To reduce inequalities in health and deliver better outcomes for residents, by promoting opportunities for increasing physical activity and mental wellbeing, through green infrastructure and public realm design for walking, cycling, parks and other recreation facilities, and improving access to healthy food choices; and to reduce social isolation by supporting retention and development of local services close to where people live, and inclusive environments that are accessible by all groups in society.
  • To strengthen the role of Medway's urban, neighbourhood and village centres, responding with a positive strategy to changes in retail; supporting independent retail and start-ups, encouraging new business uses into the High Street; securing a range of accessible services and facilities for local communities close to where they live; and realising opportunities for homes and jobs, with the main Town and larger village Centres providing a focus for new retail and community facilities and cultural activities, within the context of the distinct towns, neighbourhoods and villages that make up Medway.

Securing jobs and developing skills for a competitive economy

  • To boost the performance of the local economy by supporting local businesses to grow and innovate; and attracting inward investment and re-locations, through the provision of a portfolio of good quality employment land that meets the needs of businesses; and to secure and extend higher value employment opportunities; and reduce out-commuting.
  • Build on existing strengths and expertise, such as engineering, energy and creative industries, and raise the profile of key sectors, to attract and develop the jobs of the future.
  • To significantly improve the skills of the local workforce and capitalise upon the benefits to local businesses; and improve graduate retention.
  • To gain wide recognition of Medway as a centre for learning and its student base; and realise economic and place-making opportunities associated with the cluster of universities and colleges in Medway.
  • To deliver the infrastructure needed for business growth, to provide accessible employment locations, and excellent high speed broadband services.
  • To support growth in tourism, cultural and creative industries, extending the offer to include green tourism and city breaks, including realising opportunities in the domestic tourism market.

Boost pride in Medway through quality and resilient development

  • To ensure that development is supported by the timely provision of good quality effective infrastructure, so that the needs of Medway's growing and changing communities are well served.
  • To deliver sustainable development, meeting the needs of Medway's communities, respecting the natural and historic environment, and directing growth to the most suitable locations that can enhance Medway's economic, social and environmental characteristics.
  • To secure the ongoing benefits of Medway's regeneration, making the best use of brownfield land, and bringing forward the transformation of the waterfront and town centre sites for high quality mixed use development, and a focus for cultural activities.
  • To lift the standards of sustainability and quality in all new development; respond positively to the character and variation of local places across Medway; seeking opportunities for greener construction, to provide for more energy efficient buildings which drives down their carbon impact; demonstrate distinctiveness; and improve the accessibility and design of the public realm that will help people to live healthier lives and open up travel choices, reducing car dependency.
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