The former Coalition Government designated the Peters Village and Medway Valley Crossing project as part of a £53 million scheme to accelerate construction of more than 7,000 homes across England.
This pledge meant that the new Medway bridge and other expensive upfront costs for the £50 million Kent project was covered by £19.5 million of loan funding from the Local Infrastructure Fund administered by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) – now Homes England.
The Government initiative also included measures to help speed development, by assisting planning authorities, and encouragement of a stock of more affordable homes to buy or rent.
Delivering his speech to the Chartered Institute for Housing conference in Manchester (26 June 2014), the then Communities Secretary Eric Pickles (pictured) said:
"In 2010 we (the Government) inherited a paralysed housing market and a collapsing rate of construction. Since then we’ve delivered over 445,000 new homes, and house building is at its highest rate since 2007 and still climbing.
"The resurgence in house building is clear evidence that the Government’s long-term economic plan is working, but there is still more to do. The investment we’re announcing today will help us meet this challenge by driving up the supply of new homes in every corner of the housing market. From new places for rent to people designing to those building their own properties – we will support and deliver the homes this country needs."
The speech was timely for the Kent project where preliminary work started in May 2014 to create Peters Village and its associated infrastructure, including a new road, with new rail bridge and Peters Bridge over the River Medway to link Peters Village with the A228 on the west bank. Up to 1,000 new homes are being created - at least a quarter being affordable homes.
The project is based largely on the site of the former Peters Lime and Cement Works, once one of the largest chalk quarrying operations in the area.