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Chatham's cable-car cultural centre clears cash criteria - images

Medway Council in Kent has cleared an important funding hurdle in its bid to build an unusual £78 million cultural centre featuring a cable-car crossing over the River Medway.

Yesterday an outline proposal drawn up by Nottingham-based architect Marsh:Grochowski and ACT Consultant Services strolled through the first round of the Big Lottery Fund's Living Landmarks programme.

The centrepiece of this 'new cultural quarter' in Chatham will be a sky cable-car system linking the scheme - dubbed Medway Reach - to the river's north bank. There are also plans for a 46m-high viewing platform, a theatre, an exhibition space, music venues and a cinema.

If the lottery bid is successful, the council intends to launch a nationwide contest to find an architect to mastermind the development, and has promised to consider all comers.

Mark Bradbury, head of Chatham development at Medway Reniassance, said: 'It is our intention- to hold a design competition in due course, as we shall be looking for an outstanding development to reflect Medway's aspirations and do justice to this superb location on the River Medway.'

He added: 'We will be seeking entries from a mixture of established signature architects as well as up-and-coming younger names.'

Meanwhile, the council has also launched a bid for a £36 million project to transform the historic 30ha Great Lines City Park between Chatham and Gillingham, its neighbouring town.

by Richard Waite

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