Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 17:32 UK

Celebration year planned for 2012

Chatham Historic Dockyard
Medway has bid for World Heritage Status for Chatham Historic Dockyard

A year of celebrations in 2012 is at the heart of a five-year strategy to boost a north Kent area's economy by attracting more tourists and students.

Medway Council agreed its cultural strategy for 2009-2014 on Tuesday.

It hopes a series of cultural and sporting events in 2012 will culminate in World Heritage Status being granted to Chatham Historic Dockyard.

The year marks the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Games and Paralympics and the Cultural Olympiad.

Literary festival

The British Transplant Games are being held in Medway, and the area is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Royal Engineers and the Bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens.

The cultural strategy includes staging a literary festival celebrating local and emerging authors and working towards the opening of a waterfront arts complex and conference centre in 2020.

There are also plans for specialist performing arts, music and sports schools and an informal music venue.

"Culture provides significant employment opportunities at a very difficult time," said Councillor Howard Doe.

"Our universities and Mid Kent College attract talent to the area and we want to ensure we keep this talent for the benefit of the region."

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