Expanding Medway offers commuters a range of travel and property options
Posted 19 September 2016 by Fiona Brandhorst
The Medway Towns of Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, and Rainham stretch from west to east along the River Medway. Medway is projected to grow its population to around 278,000 by 2028 with government targets of 16,000 new homes and 23,000 new jobs for the area. Medway Council has estimated the total investment on development to be in excess of £1 billion over a 20-year period.
Each of the towns has its own identity, range of shops, restaurants, leisure facilities and unique festivals and markets with Rochester’s Dickens’ festival held in June. With its proximity by road and rail to London the Medway towns are attracting commuters priced out of London and Chatham has recently been rated in the top ten most affordable commuter towns by CBRE.
Because of its strategic location by the major crossing of the River Medway, the Medway has been of historical significance to Kent and England dating back thousands of years. Watling Street built by the Romans now forms part of the A2 to London from Dover through the Medway; Rochester has a Norman castle and its cathedral is the second oldest in Britain. Chatham is steeped in the history of its naval dockyard.
Medway is part of the Thames Gateway Regeneration Programme that will create new opportunities for business expansion and inward investment. The Universities at Medway, is a tri-partite collaboration of the University of Greenwich, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University on a single campus in Chatham, together with the University for the Creative Arts, which has a campus in Rochester.
Rochester recently opened a new £26m new station offering more frequent High Speed rail services and longer 12-car trains with a high-speed rail journey time of 34 minutes to St Pancras.
Medway operates a two-tier education system, with academic selection for admission to secondary schools determined by the 11 plus exam. There are a number of grammar schools located in the area, and one faith school. The other secondary schools and academies in Medway are non-selective. There are also a number of independent schools.
A monthly season ticket to London St Pancras via the high speed train costs £533.80 from Strood (£5,560 annually) with the fastest journey time of 35 minutes. Trains to London Charing Cross from Strood take 1hr 19mins, monthly season ticket cost £417.80 (£2,506.80 annually). Trains from Rochester take 49 minutes to Blackfriars (£439.30 monthly, £4,576 annually); Trains from Chatham take 50 minutes to Victoria (£379.80 monthly, £3,956 annually); Gillingham to Blackfriars takes 57 minutes (£379.80 monthly, £3,956 annually) and Rainham takes 1hr 2minutes to Cannon Street (£442.80 monthly, £4,612 annually).
Medway benefits from comprehensive transport links having access to the M2, M20 and M25 and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Kent’s other main towns are also within easy reach by rail: Canterbury takes 38 minutes and Maidstone 37 minutes. Eurostar services run to Brussels and Paris from Ebbsfleet, which is around 25 minutes’ away by road, where trains to Stratford take just 12 minutes, trains to St Pancras take 17 minutes and Eurostar services to Paris take around two hours. Gatwick Airport is under an hour away by car. There is also the Kings Ferry coach, which transports commuters direct from Medway towns to Canary Wharf in less than an hour, the City in one hour and 20 minutes and Westminster in an hour and a half.
Here’s a round-up of great new homes to buy in Medway:
Victory Pier (Berkeley Homes) - This award-winning development of stylish one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments is just 15 minutes’ walk from Gillingham Railway Station with journey times from around 46 minutes to central London. The Peninsula and Peninsula Quay are attracting young professionals priced out of London. Prices from £255,000. Read more about Victory Pier from Berkeley Homes
Portland Gardens (Bellway) – These two-, three- and four-bedroom homes just outside Wouldham are perfectly positioned alongside the river Medway and will have a range of amenities including a medical centre, shops and school. The new community will also be connected to the A228 by a new bridge across the river. Prices from £243,995. For details visit www.bellway.co.uk ; 01634 788979
Horsted Park (Countryside) - Surrounded by the Kent countryside, this stylish range of two-bedroom apartments and four-bedroom houses on the outskirts of Chatham are ideal for commuters with trains to London taking 42 minutes. Prices from £217,500. For further information visit www.countryside-properties.com ; 01634 406491
Parklands at Azure (Countryside Maritime) - Set on the site of the former Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, St Mary’s Island is Britain’s only strategically planned island community and these new homes have access to 20 acres of open space linked by footpaths and cycle paths. Prices from £380,000. Visit www.countryside-properties.com ; 01634 891200
St Andrew’s Park (Redrow) - These homes in the village of Halling are proving popular with a range of properties to suit first-time buyers, growing families, downsizers and investors. Just 45 minutes from London by train, it’s an ideal commuter base. Bluewater Shopping Centre is nearby. Prices from £229,995. Find out more about St Andrew's Park from Redrow Homes