Local charity The Rochester Bridge Trust is consulting on the proposed transfer of the Medway Tunnel to Medway Council, under the Medway Tunnel Act 1990.
Senior Bridge Warden Dr. Anne Logan says: “While the charity is technically the Tunnel’s owner, Medway Council is contractually responsible for maintaining the tunnel under a 999-year lease. To make management of the Tunnel less bureaucratic, Medway Council has asked us to transfer ownership of the Tunnel to them. We’ve agreed to this in principle, provided the transfer meets Charity Commission guidelines, but we want local residents to let us know whether there is anything else we should consider before this proposal is confirmed.”
In 1987 the Kent County Council asked the Trust for its support to help build the Tunnel as the project was too complex and expensive for the Council to build alone. The charity promoted the Medway Tunnel Bill through Parliament and contributed 6% of the cost for the Tunnel construction. An arrangement was then set up which gave first Kent County Council and then Medway Council a 999-year lease and responsibility for the running of the Tunnel. The charity has since then made an annual voluntary donation for the maintenance of the Tunnel. Upon the transfer it would also make a payment of £3.648 million to Medway Council for future maintenance – several times the amount of past annual contributions.
Dr. Logan says: “By transferring ownership of the Tunnel we can focus on managing and maintaining the old and new bridges at Rochester, which is why the charity was first established and what it has done successfully for centuries at no cost to the local community.”
People wishing to comment on the Tunnel transfer should do so before Tuesday, 21 July 2009, by using the PUBLIC CONSULTATION RESPONSE FORM on this website or by post to:
Kent ME1 1QE
Fax: 01634 840125