Table of contents

Medway in the future

Summary :: Our people and place :: Medway in the future

Population ageing

Increasing life expectancy and a reduction in fertility is leading to an ageing of the population in England. Substantial changes in population structure have profound implications for the provision of health and social care services.

Even though Medway has a slightly younger population than the national average, projections from 2016 to 2026 suggest that the number of people 65 years of age or over will increase by 25% to 54,500 and the number of people over 85 years will grow by 42% to 7,100.[1]

The numbers in other age groups are all expected to increase over the same period with the exception of the 0-4, 25-34, and 50-54 age groups.

Looking further ahead, Medway's population is predicted to reach 332,600 by 2036, growing by about 53,000 people between 2016 and 2036, a growth rate of 19%.

Figure 1: Projected population change in Medway between 2016 and 2026
Figure 1: Projected population change in Medway between 2016 and 2026[1]

The number of people aged 65 and over with a limiting long-term illness in Medway is projected to rise by 23% between 2017 and 2025, from 21,507 to 26,493[2] assuming the age-related prevalence from the 2011 Census is constant in the future. This will have a significant impact on the demand for health services for the management of long-term conditions such as dementia, heart disease and diabetes as the incidence of these conditions increases with age. There will also be a need to increase preventative programmes such as influenza vaccination for the over 65s.

Figure 2: Projected percentage population change 2016--2026 by broad age group
Figure 2: Projected percentage population change 2016–2026 by broad age group.[1]
  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
0-4 -0.5 0.0 1.1 2.2 3.3 4.3 4.9 5.4 6.0 6.0
5-19 1.0 1.7 2.9 3.6 5.0 6.5 7.9 9.2 10.7 11.7
20-64 0.9 1.8 2.5 3.2 3.9 4.1 4.6 5.0 5.4 5.7
65plus 2.1 4.1 6.2 8.3 10.8 13.3 15.8 19.0 21.6 25.0
All ages 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 8.9 9.9
Table 1: Projected percentage population change 2016–2026 by broad age group.

Regeneration and Major Development

Medway Council is preparing a new Local Plan to provide direction on the future growth of the area and looks forward to 2035. The aim of the Local Plan is to ensure Medway grows sustainably, to provide land for the homes, jobs and services that people need, whilst protecting and enhancing the area's environment and heritage.

Medway is one of the largest urban areas in the south east, similar in size to cities like Brighton and Hove, and Plymouth. The Local Plan is an opportunity to establish a positive strategy to guide Medway's development over the next 18 years. The Development Options consultation document includes a range of scenarios to help provide the basis for Medway's development up to 2035. [3]

There are two notable residential developments that have recently gained permission to build new homes in Medway.

Countryside Properties have won the contract to develop Rochester Riverside with 1300 homes, a school, a nursery, hotels, restaurants, a gym and offices. Construction could be underway by the summer of 2017 and completed around the summer of 2028.

Kitchener Barracks in Dock Road Chatham, is a surplus Ministry of Defence site, Sandhurst Block has gained permission for conversion to residential flats whilst the other buildings on site will be demolished and replaced with three apartment blocks. [4]


[1]   Office for National Statistics. Mid-2014-based subnational population projections for England
[2]   Projecting Older People Population Information System. People aged 65 and over with a limiting long-term illness, by age, projected to 2035. 2017;
[3]   Medway Council. Medway Council Local Plan 2017;
[4]   Medway Council. Medway Authority Monitoring Report 2016