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APPENDIX 2: What will the strategy include?                                 

Our Town Centre Strategy needs to comprise of a number of interrelated, interdependent and complementary workstreams; initial thinking is set out below and again this document has been updated to reflect feedback from service committee’s.

·         A clear and ambitious vision for the Town centre up to and beyond 2050

·         A town centre masterplan which identifies potential areas of change, potential “quarters” based on clusters or potential growth areas for particular activities and looks at the impacts of structural change in the economy upon key factors such as, the scale of retail, commercial and other space. This may include a review of the use of Article 4 Directions in the Town Centre to protect important space for its most appropriate future use and avoid conflict between new conversions and other activities.

·         A transport movement and infrastructure plan designed to facilitate the well-managed movement of traffic with minimum impact on pedestrian safety and air quality, together with safe, well-lit and legible pedestrian routes throughout the town centre, attractive low carbon public transport options and cycle routes based on logical desire lines.

·         A site assembly and implementation framework designed to assist strategic acquisitions by the Council and other partners, together with relocation strategies to ensure that investment and jobs are protected and opportunities for growth fully exploited.

·         An inward investment strategy based around a proactive approach to identifying investors, developers and end-users in order to ensure the realisation of the overall strategy.

·         An economic development and visitor economy plan based around the current economic development strategy, and seeking to secure reinvestment from existing stakeholders in the town, along with the provision of opportunities for new investment in diversifying Maidstone’s visitor and evening economy offer through development in arts, culture, events and a range of leisure opportunities which provide for all age groups.

·         A comprehensive events strategy which builds on the current town centre programme, includes activities which celebrate the town centres heritage and culture, are designed to promote movement throughout the town centre and have a focus on those events likely to create repeat visits.

·         Building up on work around visitor economy and events an ongoing process of “market investigation” to ensure that any opportunities for major “game changing” visitor economy/culture projects that would compliment the vision for the Town Centre.

·         A sustainable town plan designed to ensure that all aspects of the town’s transport system, built and natural/semi-natural environments make a positive contribution to the achievement of the boroughs 2030 carbon neutrality target.

·         A housing and community plan to ensure that the town’s housing stock is of a good standard and of a sufficiently broad nature in terms of both type and tenure to provide for existing and future residents.

·         A skills and inclusive growth plan to ensure that residents from throughout the borough are equipped with the skills to compete for employment and training opportunities arising from the strategy, and that the skill base and training infrastructure across the borough becomes and integral part of Maidstone’s inward investment offer.

·         A smart town plan to ensure that technology and data capture is harnessed in the context of the easy movement of vehicles and public transport, improvements in air quality, and the ability of the business community and other stakeholders to maximise dwell time and spend capture in the town centre.

·         A marketing and communications strategy designed to manage community business and stakeholder engagement in the process, whilst simultaneously marketing the town to investors, developers, occupiers and visitors.

·         A plan for the Council’s role in investment and direct delivery.