If you thought regeneration was a problem in Chatham, spare a thought for peaceful, pleasant Gravesend a few miles down the road.
Both towns are earmarked for riverside developments, have (or in Chatham's case, had) waterside gardens, and certainly have grand plans for the future that have upset a lot of people.
Medway residents would do well to watch what Gravesend's civic society has achieved.
Urban Gravesham is ostensibly local residents with local concerns. They got together four years ago when plans were announced to redevelop the heritage quarter in Gravesend that many people had reservations about.
The heritage quarter is one of six "quartiers" in Gravesend. It straddles the boundary between Gravesend and the former borough of Milton. The boundary is best recognised by the High Street where once I tried (and failed) to keep up with a surprisingly athletic Gordon Brown.
They found they had common concerns. They certainly heard the sort of stories that are fairly familiar in Medway that "if we don't get on with it now, it will be the end of us as a thriving community".
As individuals they were largely ignored. As a body corporate they suddenly found they had power.
There were experts in law and planning among them, but there were also people with commonsense ideas who had lots of friends and were able to explain the weaknesses in the "develop now" argument.
Their first success was to stop a 36-storey tower block on the waterfront.
They had been arguing loud, vociferously and intelligently against it. The basis of their comments was that such a creation was completely out of the question in a town like Gravesend where a car park and shopping centre are the tallest buildings.
The developer, Edinburgh House, scrapped the idea and went back to the drawing board.
The locals kept a close eye on the situation and were critical about some of the ideas that were coming forward.
The plans came forward - and the council's planning committee shocked everyone by voting 5 - 4 against the plans.
Edinburgh House decided they had invested too much to let it go. They appealed.
It has cost them millions.
This week they threw in the towel, recognising they were not going to win: either their case or the support of the community.
They have changed their tactics. They want to talk to the opponents and get their ideas - a complete reversal from the past.
Now consider Chatham. Replace "developer" with "council".
Medway Council is still seeking the public's support for its ideas.
Its problem is that it has never understood how to consult - or even what the word means.
In Gravesham, thousands respond to consultations, and plans get changed to take those ideas on board.
In Medway a hundred responses is looked on as a major triumph. It certainly is if you don't want common people spoiling your dreams.
The waterfront at Gravesend will be redeveloped, but should be closer to what the community wants.
In Chatham, the waterfront is littered with lost flyovers, unloved bus stations and motorists who feign traffic sign illiteracy.
Consultation is a risk.
You might get the mundane, the uninspiring or crass.
Take the new open space in front of the Civic Centre.
Gone are the goldfish that children loved to tickle.
In place if their sizeable pool is an open area with trees.
Yesterday the mayor,
Inspirational? Exciting? Thrilling?
The name the community came up with (and more than 1,000 people made their preferences known) was ....