HIF extension to be considered

Published: Monday, 20th September 2021

The Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) could be receiving a year-long extension.

Following significant progress in the delivery of the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF): New Routes to Good Growth Programme, Homes England and Medway Council have discussed agreeing a year’s extension to the £170m investment programme on the Hoo peninsula.

The discussions between Homes England and Medway Council follows the detailed work undertaken by the Future Hoo team, including detailed design studies and the recent extensive consultation work with local residents. If adopted it will ensure residents and stakeholders can be fully involved in the ongoing delivery of the HIF project.

Thanks to the formation of a highly-skilled and committed Future Hoo delivery team, key achievements on the proposed improvements to the environment, the rail and road infrastructure programme, include:

  • The development of the Strategic Environmental Management Strategy
  • Planning permission granted to create Cockham Community Parkland, a new community park covering 127.75 acres (51.7ha) of land to the south of Hoo St Werburgh and the east of Chattenden
  • The consultation, final drafting and completion of the Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessment, which is now informing (directing the SEIA) the EIA and the SEMS work streams,
  • The commissioning of the study to deliver Governance for Railway Investment Projects for rail infrastructure
  • The completion of preliminary designs for the highway infrastructure
  • Formation of a Property Cost Estimate for the HIF project
  • Ongoing discussions with effected key freeholders and leaseholders
  • Extensive public consultation including further engagement in November.

The HIF would ensure the all-important infrastructure was in place by 2025 ahead of enabling the potential development of up to 10,600 new homes on the peninsula by 2037. The housing target is part of the Government’s requirement for Medway Council to delivering 26,962 new homes across all of Medway, which is being considered as part of the Local Plan process.

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “I can confirm that the Cabinet is now considering an extension and a decision will be made at our 28 September meeting. When Medway Council originally submitted its Expression of Interest in September 2017 our original proposed end date for the project was March 2024, but due to the scheme’s complexity the project agreement was not finalised until Summer 2020. The additional time would build on the excellent progress on the environment, rail and road elements of the HIF and ensure the HIF programme delivers the most sustainable future for Hoo. The team would be able to demonstrate in detail to the residents on the peninsula that their views have been listened to, and that the HIF supports the heritage, culture and communities in this important part of Medway.”

If the decision is taken to extend the HIF timetable it would mean that the project would now be scheduled to run until March 2025.

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