Financially sustainable creative incubations units
Image - Picture medway
Title partner - medway
Image - Picture medway
Title General Info

Medway Council is the unitary authority for Medway, responsible for the delivery of core public services to Medway’s residents. It is responsible for local planning and economic development policy, and is progressing towards its goals of rejuvenating the local economy.

The Council and local partners strategy to achieve this is multi-faceted, and has secured substantial support from central government over the past decade:

Key pillars of the strategy include:
  • Development of the university offer and improvement of further education facilities
  • Transport improvements
  • Housing and business space development
  • Image improvements
The following are key areas of sector development deemed critical for the future of the local economy (all linking in to growing strengths in the local Higher Education sector):

Business Services - 47% of new businesses in Medway are in the business service sector, and there are links between business services activity and the creative industries.

Specialist Manufacturing/Engineering – the sector is dominated by the BAe Systems plant in Rochester, although there are a relatively large number of small specialist providers in the area.

Energy and Environmental Technologies - Transco’s new LNG plant is reputed to be the largest in the world, whilst e.on, SSE and Scottish Power all operate gas turbine power stations in Medway. BP also has its aviation fuel terminal serving Gatwick and Stansted airports situated in Medway.

Creative Industries - these have been developing over the past few years, albeit from a low base. That having been said, creative businesses have begun to make their mark and there is a long tradition of learning provision and, in the University of Creative Arts, Medway has a major asset, with huge potential both to expand learning provision and as a source of a plethora of business start ups, provided the support infrastructure is in place to exploit these opportunities.

Title RIG

The RIG will be officially convened for the first time in January 2013. Key local partners to be involved in the RIG span the public, private, education and not-for-profit sectors, and will include:
  • Medway Council
  • University for the Creative Arts
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Kent at Medway
  • Creative Medway CIC
  • CoFWD (Project 161)
  • Thames Gateway Kent Partnership
  • Joiners Shop (Basepoint)

Title The Region

Medway is a conurbation and unitary authority (NUTS3 area) in South East England region. It is the largest urban area in population terms within the region, with an estimated population of over 263,000 people. This population is forecast to grow to over 300,000 within the next 10 years.

Medway was officially formed in 1998 when the City of Rochester-upon-Medway amalgamated with Gillingham Borough Council to form Medway Council –independent of Kent County Council. The main contiguous towns in the conurbations are; Chatham, Gillingham, Rochester, Strood and Rainham. While city-scale in population size, Medway has had 3 unsuccessful city-status bids since its inception in 1998.

Because of its strategic location by the major crossing of the River Medway and on the South bank of the Thames estuary, it has made a wide and historically significant contribution to Kent, and to England, dating back thousands of years, as evident in the siting of Watling Street by the Romans and by the Norman Rochester Castle, Rochester Cathedral (the second oldest in Britain), and the Chatham naval dockyard and its associated defences.

Medway is one of the boroughs included in the Thames Gateway development scheme - a national priority area for regeneration and growth. It is also the home of Universities at Medway, a tri-partite collaboration of the University of Greenwich, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University on a single campus in Chatham. It is also home to a fourth university – the University for the Creative Arts, and Mid-Kent College (Further Education).

Title The City

Medway is situated in North Kent, approximately 30miles East-South East of London, and around 40 miles from the Channel port of Dover. It is 10mins by car to Ebbsfleet International Station with its links to the continent, and Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted Airports are all within an hour’s drive. Connections by train to London are very good, with 4 London termini within an hour by train.

While Medway has a large population, it is not very diverse (with 93% of the population White British), although the population is relatively young.

Medway’s economic history is principally industrial – driven by the legacy of the Naval Dockyard, the brick and paper industries, the aviation industry and supporting machine tools industries. De-industrialisation was accelerated by the closure of the Naval Dockyard in 1984. This led to the classic signs of post-industrial decline in the area for the following decade – de-population, low skills base, and low land values.

However, close access to the strong London and South East jobs market meant that – while unemployment peaked at around 12% in 1989 – Medway wasn’t affected to the extent of other similar size urban areas in the North of England by industrial decline.

Since its inception in 1998, the Council’s policies set out above have been at the forefront of trying to revitalise the area.

Since its inception in 1998, the Council’s policies set out above have been at the forefront of trying to revitalise the area.

The Council’s policies to support the creative industries are driven by the following factors:

A recognition that the creative industries are a strong and growing sector
  • Small but increasing amounts of local activity
  • The new and growing higher education sector presence in the area (led by the University for the Creative Arts)
  • The proximity to London
  • Relatively cheap property costs
  • Strong links between the creative industries and regeneration priorities (around property development and image improvement)
  • The priority to attract/retain students and skilled people to the local economy
Title Partners
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InCompass Project is funded by the EU’s European Regional Development fund through the INTERREG IVC programme