Medway Council this morning announced that they have secured £14.4 million from the Government as part of the ‘levelling-up’ fund, to deliver three projects which are all exclusively related to the Historic Dockyard and the Brook Theatre in Chatham.
Cllr Andy Stamp, representative for Gillingham North, said:
“I was concerned by the total lack of detail in this morning’s announcement regarding how many new jobs the Council hopes these local ‘levelling up’ projects will create. As we emerge from the pandemic, we need good quality, well-paid jobs which benefit all of our local communities but the projects announced are unlikely to deliver the direct improvements we urgently need across Medway right now.
“Unfortunately it seems this money won’t do anything for some of our suburban estates such as Twydall, Weeds Wood, Parkwood, Wayfield, Darnley Road, or isolated villages such as Grain. The funding could have delivered a whole network of employment, skills and training hubs in our communities, but they appear to have just shoehorned in their predictable priorities and pet projects which do nothing for our communities across Rochester, Strood, Gillingham or Rainham.”
Cllr Hazel Browne, representative for Twydall, added:
“Once again it is noticeable that this money has been earmarked for projects in Chatham, and subsequently excludes all other parts of Medway, including my own ward in Twydall. We stress that it should be vital that any levelling-up is beneficial to the entirety of Medway.
“Medway Tories are playing politics to try and cover up their failure to properly run services or venues, especially the Brook Theatre. In order to plug the gap of their failure in running the Brook Theatre as a commercial entity, they are deliberately starving Twydall and other similar estates across Medway of investment.”
Cllr Vince Maple, Leader of the Medway Labour and Co-operative Group said:
“After a decade of underfunding every part of the country the government should return funding to all areas to spend on vital projects they judge to be important, not force them to compete against each other.
“This is not the kind of ‘Levelling-up’ which Medway residents would believe is either fair or desirable. Every resident and every community should be benefitting from the Government’s Levelling Up fund, and I very much doubt that the Council’s divisive approach has the support of the people of Medway.”