Half of all households in Medway are facing deprivation
Plus Peninsula by-election is finally upon us, some questionable new flats, and Medway weather gets wild
Half of all households in Medway are facing deprivation
The latest tranche of data from the 2021 census was released this week, giving us a clearer picture of the current demographics of Medway. This is part of an ongoing series of data releases from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that will continue through the coming years.
This latest set of information covers some broad demographics of our local areas, focusing on the age of our population, how they are distributed, how many migrants are in Medway, and a lot more.
So let’s have a look at the figures, shall we?
Our population is quite well-mixed when it comes to age groups. 20% of our community is 15 years or younger, 17% are 65 are older, and everyone else is somewhere in between.
The youngest area by far is Chatham South East (the White Road Estate area primarily), where nearly a third of the population are children and less than 8% are over 65. Conversely, Rainham is very much the opposite, with nearly a third of the population being over 65, and a much smaller proportion being children.
13.8% of Medway’s population was born outside of the UK. This is roughly average for Kent. It is a lower amount than the populations of Gravesham, Dartford, or Maidstone, but a higher proportion than Swale or Tonbridge or Malling.
Of that 13.8%, 6.1% came from Europe, 3.6% from the Middle East and Asia, 3.1% from Africa, 0.8% from the Americas, and 0.2% from Oceania. Cool!
I wrote about deprivation in Medway a little while ago, and this data also sets out the difficulties many of our households are facing. The ONS counts deprivation on four metrics:
Education: No one in the household has an equivalent of C-grade GCSEs.
Employment: Any member of the household is unemployed.
Health: Any member of the household is disabled.
Housing: Household is in a shared dwelling, overcrowded, or has no heating.
If a household meets any of those criteria, they are regarded as deprived in some way. A household can be deprived across one or multiple criteria.
47% of Medway households have no deprivation at all. This is slightly better than Gravesham and Swale, but much lower than our neighbouring boroughs to the south.
38% of households are deprived on at least one dimension, 15% on two, 4% on three, and horribly, 0.4% of households are deprived on all metrics.
Other random bits of information from the data dump:
44% of the adult Medway population are married or in a civil partnership.
0.2% of people in Medway live in a household with more than 8 people.
58% of the adult population are living with an opposite-sex partner, but less than 1% are living with a same-sex partner.
The average age of a Medway resident is 38.
Medway is 51% female and 49% male.
There’s a ridiculous amount of information to wade through, and the ONS has made it available using these handy maps to help you visualise it all better. More releases will follow in the coming months.
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The by-election no one wants
Following on from the sad passing of independent Peninsula councillor Mick Pendergast last month, the notice of a by-election has finally been published by Medway Council.
The election is set to take place on 8 December, a particularly brutal time of year to try and convince voters to head to a polling station.
It remains unclear at this point how much effort any of the parties will put into such an election a mere five months out from full Medway Council elections. Peninsula ward will not exist after May next year, so any winning candidate will likely face a tough battle to retain their seat with a different electorate merely five months after taking office.
With the Conservatives in the doldrums nationally and Medway Labour focusing on the bigger prize of taking the whole council, this election provides an opportunity for a smaller party or motivated independent to take a run at it.
Interested candidates have until next Friday to submit nomination papers to Medway Council, with a full list of candidates set to be published on Monday 14 November.
You can read the full timeline for the election process here.
Covid in numbers
Cases: There are still no specific data, but 3% of the population in the south east are estimated to test positive for coronavirus this week, down from 3.1% last week.
Hospitalisations: There are currently 23 patients being treated for covid in Medway Hospital, with none of them on a ventilator. This is down 41% from last week.
Deaths: 7 new deaths were recorded this week, taking Medway to 986 covid deaths in total. This is the highest weekly death figure recorded in Medway since January.
Vaccinations: 81% of the 12+ population in Medway have now had at least one vaccine dose, 77% have had two doses, and 60% have received a booster dose.
78% of those eligible for a spring booster received one.
10% of those under 12 have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
50% of those aged 50+ have so far had their autumn booster.
As housing gets denser in Medway, new blocks of flats are going to get bigger. There’s such a movement against any new development that developers will cram as much as they can on every site they have.
This new build in Chatham is getting some attention, and not in a positive way. While the building is mostly a pretty run-of-the-mill giant brick thing, the giant gaping hole in it for access is certainly raising some eyebrows.
Not sure I’d fancy wandering out onto that central “balcony”. Hopefully, it’s due for a railing at least before it’s tenanted!
MP donations latest
A good month for Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch, who was gifted an £800 ticket with full hospitality to see an NFL game in London, according to the latest update to the register of MP interests.
As ever with these things, there is no suggestion that there is anything explicitly wrong with this, and indeed Crouch was one of three MPs to receive free tickets from the NFL last month.
Not a bad day out if you can get it though.
Medway weather gets wild
For the first time that I can remember, Medway was placed under a tornado watch for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon. Thankfully no tornado breached our borders and any that could have done wouldn’t have been on the scale of Twister, but ‘tornado watch’ aren’t exactly the words you want to hear while popping to the shops.
Flashforward a couple of days and Medway found itself experiencing heavy rainfall, which led to localised flooding like these scenes in Twydall and Rochester.
Tornado risks and flooding in the course of 72 hours, but of course climate change isn’t really a thing we need to be worried about.
Next week will see the publication of our next big interview, this time with Medway Leader leader of the opposition Cllr Vince Maple. This will be exclusive to paid supporters as one of the two extra editions that they receive every week.
This week, Steven Keevil looked ahead to what will be a challenging winter for many and the support that might be available. I also sent out my monthly election campaign roundup, setting out where we are and where we might be heading as we have six months left on the campaign.
Becoming a paid supporter costs as little as £3.75 per month, and helps ensure the long-term future of this project.
Former Mayor of Medway Vaughn Hewett is currently on trial, accused of driving his car at a covid nurse at Medway Hospital. (KentOnline)
Medway Council is part of a group of local councils complaining to the government about the number of asylum seekers in Kent. (Isle of Thanet News)
The Paddock in Chatham is set to be ‘improved’ next year. (KentOnline)
A car has driven into a bedroom of a care home in Rainham. (KentLive)
A plane crashed near Rochester Airport leaving two people stuck 40ft in the air in a tree. (Metro)
Gillingham Football Club might be heading toward a takeover. (KentOnline)
Substack has a pretty cool app for reading this and (I guess) other newsletters. It’s a pretty easy and clean way to read these things rather than wading through your inbox, and they are adding some pretty fancy community tools to it too. Not sure if I’m going to use those yet as most readers still read this via the traditional email route, but who knows what the future might bring?
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Music that soundtracked the creation of this newsletter: You Can Do Better by Johnny Foreigner, Talon of the Hawk by The Front Bottoms, and Canines by Shrag.