ISSUE 11 2018 medway making history
High spirits Growing enterprises Soaring ambitions Future thinking Eyeing innovation Creation stations Changing tide Force of the river
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The latest on developments shaping Medway’s regeneration.
Formed 20 years ago, how does Medway Council plan to top the achievements of the last two decades?
15 M ade in Medway
With new space for companies opening up, innovative entrepreneurs are joining a dynamic business community.
20 H ousing
Setting out the priorities for housebuilding in Chatham and beyond.
26 Rochester Riverside
How the history and culture of Rochester informed development plans for the huge waterside regeneration scheme.
Illustration: Medway Council’s River of Light, launched in 2018
31 Strood in Focus
The opening of the Innovation Studios Medway is just one sign of the big changes coming to Strood.
A look at the schools opening and new university facilities in the region boosting the educational offer for a range of ages.
40 M ap
Where the key schemes set out in the following pages are located.
42 P rojects
Progress reports on the development projects, planned and under way.
news Strood regeneration launched
Work has begun to transform Strood town centre after Medway Council and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) won £9 million from the government’s Local Growth Fund for crucial improvement works. The first phase of development will improve the market site and car park at Commercial Road, realigning the pedestrian route through the car park with Tolgate Lane and installing new seating and lighting. Further phases will alter the road layout in the town centre to reduce congestion and improve journey times, and include improvements to pedestrian routes, landscaping and lighting. Medway Council’s portfolio holder for strategic regeneration, Rodney Chambers, said: “I am pleased that work is under way. Strood is one of Medway’s key regeneration sites and the improvement works aim to make the area a place where residents are proud to live and work.” The project forms part of a wider investment programme across Medway, with £40.2 million from both the Local Growth Fund and SELEP allocated to the delivery of infrastructure schemes to 2020/21. Read more about Strood on pages 31-34.
IT COULD ALL GO WRONG
Medical school for Medway Plans to build Kent’s first medical school in Medway have been praised as an ‘essential boost’ for improving healthcare for residents. The bid for Medway and Kent Medical School was submitted by Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent in November 2017, with the announcement made by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Health Education England in March. The school will bring together health and medical education from the two institutions and local healthcare
organisations to offer a new model of patient-focused medical education to help combat the UK’s shortage of GPs. David Brake, portfolio holder for public health at Medway Council, said: “The development will benefit our local health care system as more doctors will be trained and work in local GP practices. “I am also pleased with the government’s plans to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds study at the new medical school. This will increase access to these courses for local people at the new medical school.”
Medway’s £400 million regeneration scheme at Rochester Riverside broke ground in February, marking the beginning of construction. Work started on the first three phases, comprising 489 homes and a hotel, along with 885sq m of commercial floorspace and landscaping. The council granted outline approval for the £400 million seven-phase masterplan in November 2017, which will provide 1,400 new homes and 1,200sq m of commercial space when complete. The site is expected to lessen the burden on local housing need, with 25% of new homes earmarked as affordable. Over four hectares of open space will be provided across the project, including 2km of riverside walkway for public use. The redevelopment is being undertaken in a joint project by housebuilder Countryside and housing provider Hyde Group. Andy Fancy, managing director for north and south London at Countryside Partnerships South, said: “This groundbreaking ceremony is a landmark moment for the scheme and marks the beginning of a 12-year programme to deliver 1,400 new homes and state-ofthe-art community facilities, while opening up a key part of the Medway riverside for the very first time. “We are delighted to finally see the vision for a new destination in Rochester take such an important step forward.” Construction on the first set of homes is expected to be completed in early 2019.
Hoo Peninsula funding pledge Around £170 million could be unlocked for potential growth on the Hoo Peninsula, after Medway Council passed the first round of a major funding bid. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that Medway is one of 45 local authorities which has moved to the next stage of the Housing Infrastructure Fund, a government capital grant programme of up to £5 billion, which will help to deliver a potential 600,000 new homes across England.
Funding will be awarded to local authorities on a competitive basis, providing money for infrastructure that will unlock homes in the areas of greatest housing demand. Alan Jarrett, leader of Medway Council, said: “We now have a excellent platform to put a very persuasive case to the government for the next round of the funding bid. “If finally successful, securing a bid like this would give us the exciting opportunity to deliver a sustainable community, which will include new and improved facilities on the Hoo Peninsula.”
Council nominated for housing award Medway Council was a finalist for the Landlord of the Year prize in the 2018 UK Housing Awards – the only local authority to be shortlisted in the category. Owning and managing more than 3,000 homes throughout the area, the council last year invested £7 million into a new build council housing scheme in Gillingham called Centenary Gardens. Medway has completed two phases of the programme, building 56 homes, of which 36 are energy efficient bungalows let to existing council tenants. Howard Doe, Medway Council’s
portfolio holder for housing, said: “To have been shortlisted as finalists in the UK Housing Awards is testament to our commitment to our tenants, and is a significant achievement for the team.” The UK Housing Awards are the biggest awards in the housing sector and are organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing and Inside Housing magazine. Nottingham City Homes were victorious in the category at the awards, which took place in central London at the beginning of May 2018.
Rochester Riverside revs up
“Of 3,174 Medway children who obtained places, 79% have been offered their first preference”
Peel reveals plans for Chatham Waters The Chatham Waters regeneration project moved forward in March 2018 when developer Peel Land & Property submitted a planning application to Medway Council for a second housing scheme at the site. The lodged planning application coincides with work starting on the first residential phase, a 14-storey block of 199 one, two and three-bedroom luxury apartments by award-winning X1 Developments at the 10.5-ha site. Peel is set to deliver a further 193 homes, comprising one, two and three-bed apartments for private market
rent, with retail units on the ground-floor, enhanced with a waterfront boulevard and alfresco dining areas. Real estate investor Long Harbour is providing investment funding for the development, and will own the building once the scheme is complete. It also follows the success of a number of commercial projects at Chatham Waters, including an Asda superstore, Medway University Technical College and the recent completion of The Mast and Rigging, a Marston’s family restaurant and pub. Residential development director at
Peel Land & Property, Neil Baumber, said: “We’re excited to be moving forward with our plans for the second residential scheme at Chatham Waters, as the stunning waterfront setting starts to take shape. “Incorporating a truly spectacular waterside boulevard, with unparalleled views across the Medway Estuary, giving the feel of a Mediterranean promenade, in one of the most picturesque locations in Kent, we’re expecting lots of interest in these latest residential plans.” In addition, Peel has invested more than £5 million into the scheme during
the last year. The funding was used for infrastructure works, including remediation, flood defences, road improvements and servicing the remaining undeveloped land.
“We’re expecting lots of interest” Neil Baumber, Peel Land & Property
[ news ]
Swelling visitor tide after gallery prizes This came after the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) recognised the project, created by Baynes and Mitchell Architects, for updating the Chatham Dockyard’s historical buildings, in particular creating an underground gallery housing the Namur ship. The building was awarded RIBA South East Regional Award 2017, RIBA South East Conservation Award
2017, RIBA South East Building of the Year 2017, RIBA National Award and was placed on the RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist 2017. Bill Ferris, chief executive of the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust (CHDT), said: “Our visitor numbers increased by 10% and visitor reaction to the building and facilities created has been outstanding.
“The shortlisting recognised 21st century design excellence, something that has been fundamental to the 400-year history of this place, as reflected in the heritage building assets and the ships built here.” The increase in visitors comes as CHDT prepares to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Chatham Dockyard through its Festival 400.
The Historic Dockyards in Chatham have seen a 10% rise in visitor numbers since summer 2017, which it credits to a gallery building winning and being nominated for several awards. The Command of the Oceans project, an exhibition on “the dockyard through “the age of sail”, won the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Project of the Year award in May 2018.
Council backs Gillingham FC League One football side Gillingham have secured a new sponsor in Medway Council, and will see its stadium renamed Medway Priestfield. Leader of Medway Council, Alan Jarrett, said: “This is a partnership that will benefit the Medway community, but place no burden on the Medway tax payer. The community sits at the heart of this new partnership and I am delighted we will be able to donate tickets to local people who might not otherwise get the opportunity to watch the club play.” This year marks 20 years since the council was formed, while Gillingham celebrates its 125th anniversary.
ROARING TWENTIES MEDWAY 1
Medway Council is 20 years old in 2018. In an exclusive interview with council leader Alan Jarrett and director of regeneration, community and culture Richard Hicks, Sarah Herbert looks at what has been achieved in regenerating the area over the past two decades and what is planned for the next two, via its new initiative, â€˜Medway20â€™
BELOW: Celebrations in 2017 of the 350th anniversary of The Battle of Medway. RIGHT: The summer programme of events was concluded with a firework display at the Medway in Flames event.
t’s remarkable to think that Medway Council is only in fact 20 years old. Formed in 1997 from Gillingham and Rochester town councils, the unitary authority is well on the way to creating a 21st century waterfront university city. So how has it all happened? And what’s next? Where has Medway come from? Alan Jarrett: “The unitary authority has put Medway on the map. Before 1997, it wasn’t a place – just a river. We’ve brought in 12,000 university students, where there were none at all. We’ve increased Medway’s identity across Kent and further afield, enabling us to lever in £200 million of external funding, making possible our monumental regeneration projects.” What makes Medway special? Richard Hicks: “Our heritage and back story, our growth, and the breadth of opportunity, not to mention the fast trains, strategic positioning, green spaces and our cultural offer.”
Jarrett: “A big draw for many has been our affordable housing – considering we’re only 34 minutes from London on the fast train. But it’s not all about bargain housing, we’re more than that. Our tagline ‘rich heritage, great future’ really does seem to capture everything that makes Medway special, something our ‘placemaker’, Thinking Place, is currently working on. What will ‘placemaking’ bring to Medway? Hicks: “Our placemaking activity identifies what makes Medway special – its buzz, vibrancy and energy. By giving Medway a brand, it will be taking us to the next level. We need all partners and champions sharing the same message when advocating for Medway, and telling the story of a great place to live, work, learn and visit.” Jarrett: “It’s the easiest thing to build homes, but that could be anywhere. We are building ‘Medway the place’.” continued overleaf
Joining the council at its inception and on the cabinet since 2001, council leader Alan Jarrett has presided over great changes in the region.
Richard Hicks is committed to Medway, in his role as both deputy chief executive and director of regeneration, culture, environment and transformation.
“I’m very proud of projects in Chatham, which are transforming the city centre and waterfront. ”
Where is it going? What are the priorities for the future? Jarrett: “The closure of the Chatham Dockyards was a real blow to everybody here. We’ve worked ever since to give Medway a more prosperous economy. The way we can do that is through SMEs, to give the area economic resilience, and not just rely on one big employer like the dockyard. As well as this, we have to provide the economic conditions necessary for big employers such as [aerospace company] BAE Systems. Which current project are you most proud of? Jarrett: “I think it has to be the project to
protect Rochester Airport from closure and turn part of it into Innovation Park Medway. This combination of history with forward-looking industry and commerce, so typical of Medway, will both create a more viable airport – which has just persuaded Kent Air Ambulance to move back to Rochester, after 18 years away in Marden (see page 16) – and develop the infrastructure for future businesses, which will benefit from Enterprise Zone status. “I’m also very proud of projects in Chatham, which are transforming the city centre and waterfront. The improvements to the built environment between train and bus station seems a small change, but one that will make such a difference to visitors’
“We have much to be proud of and celebrate”
[medway20] first impressions. We’re also opening up the town’s historical defences and barrier ditches, transforming the waterfront. “In the future, the regeneration of the centre of Chatham will focus on housing schemes on council-owned land. “And of course it’s wonderful to see the first two phases of Rochester Riverside, our flagship regeneration site, transforming that area. Countryside is working on 200 houses, while a new multi-storey car park has just gone up, the land has been made up, the river wall improved and all that contaminated land has been remediated for the future.” “But it’s not just physical infrastructure; our education, social care, things are really going well.” Environment is also a priority for Medway, with enough green space to fill 13.3 Hyde Parks, seven ‘Green Flag’ parks and the Ranscombe Farm reserve. What are the council’s plans for its green spaces? Hicks: “Green space is really important to us. Medway is thought of as a densely
populated urban area, yet 50% of our land mass is rural. We have internationally significant wetlands, award-winning parks and nature reserves that are the envy of many and help make Medway a fantastic place to live and to bring up a family.” What might the impact of the nearby London Resort (a theme park and water park scheduled for completion in the 2020s) be on employment and the local economy? Hicks: “London Resort is a great opportunity for us to draw even more people in to see what Medway has to offer, once they have visited the global-scale theme park. It will offer outstanding employment opportunities for Medway people, right on our doorstep – and this is why we have engaged with the team at London Resort at the highest levels and will continue to do so. With 14 million visits projected each year, this is an opportunity Medway must grasp.” In light of the authority’s prioritisation of culture and history in its development and placemaking, let’s look at a few particular projects. What work has been completed at Eastgate House and what is its historical interest? Hicks: “Eastgate House is a much-loved, Grade I-listed, 16th century townhouse written about by [Charles] Dickens. Its £2 million renovation and conservation will help to share the stories of Medway’s rich heritage. It will act as a draw for tourism, which already brings £313 million and 4.6 million visits to Medway, and supports 6,000 jobs.” Why was the Medway Archives Centre moved? Hicks: “The project was not just about moving the Archive Centre – it was about regenerating the whole of Strood, alongside the significant investment made in its sports centre, community hub, train station, placemaking and flood defences. Focusing like this on its history and culture has meant a new dawn for the town, which is also benefitting from Broomhill, Temple Manor, a vibrant high street and Medway Valley Park. How successful were recent heritage events, such as last year’s Battle of Medway commemorations? Hicks: “The Battle of Medway really put Medway on the international map, and
was described as being an event that ‘would have graced the Thames’. It was an opportunity for tourists and residents to mark a significant milestone event in Britain’s history, and also for us to showcase what Medway has to offer, and to put on a spectacular show. And we certainly did that.” Will the focus on festivals continue? What is planned? Jarrett: “It certainly will. The festivals will be all about growth for all, showcasing the amazing things that go on, and are happening right across Medway. We have regeneration hot-spots, but the purpose of the focus on festivals is to celebrate that we have much to be proud of and celebrate the length and breadth of Medway.” M
Medway Local Plan 2015 - 2035 The Medway Local Plan 2035 sets out regeneration objectives across eight areas: • Destination and placemaking • High-value jobs and productivity • Inward investment • Local employment opportunities • Innovation • Business accommodation • Sector growth • Improving employability Plans include: • Around 30,000 new homes at major new developments such as Rochester Riverside and Chatham Waterfront • An additional 17,000 jobs • Supporting economic prosperity by providing high quality accommodation to new and growing businesses, and offering a range of highly skilled and well-paid jobs • Preserving and maintaining what makes Medway special, from the river, ecology and green spaces to its culture and heritage • Infrastructure such as health, social care and wellbeing, education, transport and culture
LEFT: Open, accessible space and attractive views define Medway’s landscape. BELOW: The University Technical College opened in 2016. BOTTOM: bptw partnership’s plans for Rochester.
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[made in medway]
Suruchi Sharma speaks to new and established businesses across Medway about the appeal of the region, what they have achieved, the value they bring and their plans for the future
imulation video game developer Dovetail Games and water feature designer Fountain Workshop – responsible for the striking fountains in London’s Kings Cross – are just two innovative businesses to have established themselves in Medway in recent years. They joined longerestablished companies; multinational defence and aerospace organisation BAE Systems and manufacturing firm Jubilee Clips, adding value to an increasingly dynamic business community. Locate in Kent provides free support on funding, skills and property advice to companies moving to the county. Its head of investment, Chris Broom, says recent years have seen a “diverse cross section of businesses” investing in Medway, differing in size and type of industry.
The Innovation Studios in Strood (see pages 31-33) have incubator spaces that, when opened in September 2017, were filled quickly with start-ups and SMEs from the creative industries. Broom says: “We have also had large, international firms such as Pacadar, a leader in the design and manufacture of pre-cast concrete structures, base its UK operations here. “Medway has a strong reputation for advanced manufacturing and engineering, and continues to attract innovative businesses in this sector.” There are many reasons for firms to move to Medway, says Broom, citing handy transport connections to London, motorways and sea ports. He also highlights Innovation Park Medway, run by Medway Council and part of the North
Kent Enterprise Zone, which is one of three hubs – with Ebbsfleet Garden City and Kent Medical Campus – aimed at enticing new businesses. ‘Enterprise Zone’ status means local authorities can offer companies based in these places discounted business rates. Firms at the Innovation Park will “benefit from strong support from the council”, says Broom: “The anticipated number of jobs the site will create will not only benefit local people, but will drive economic growth,” he adds. “From our perspective, the opportunity is great because it will unlock new commercial property which will help us easily attract businesses into the area.” Medway1 looks at some of the region’s recent acquisitions and speaks to another business which is a stalwart of the region...
ABOVE: Thanks to the Innovation Park Medway at Rochester Airport, Kent, Surrey and Sussex Ambulance will move its base back to the area after moving out 18 years ago.
ABOVE: The familyrun Copper Rivet distillery produces spirits such as gin, vodka and whisky.
COPPER RIVET DISTILLERY Growing up in Medway influenced entrepreneur Matthew Russell to open his family run distillery business at home. With his father Bob and brother Stephen, he created the award-winning Copper Rivet Distillery, based in the historic Chatham Dockyard. He says: “We grow our own grain and produce all the alcohol ourselves, so everybody knows where the product comes from. It dawned on us if we did that somewhere like Scotland or Wales, it would be a bit disingenuous, because we are from Medway. If we wanted our home distillery to be anywhere, then it should be in our home.”
Based at the historic Victorian Pump House No.5, the Copper Rivet Distillery opened in 2016, producing gin, vodka and whisky, distilling the spirits from grain to glass. Russell says: “Within the craft spirits world, the vast majority of large craft gin and vodka producers buy their alcohol in and we decided not to do that, producing our own alcohol at the distillery.” Collaborating with farmers in the Isle of Sheppey to grow the grain, Russell is aware of how vital it is to work with neighbouring companies. He started distillery tours to connect with
the community and was “massively surprised” at the popularity – Copper Rivet distillery welcomed around 10,000 visitors in the first year. Russell says: “We’ve focused on working with local businesses and suppliers to produce what we need. The drinks industry is fiercely competitive and dominated by massive companies that own huge percentages of the market. As a small start-up – whether you’re a fruit juice supplier or in our case a vodka, gin and whisky manufacturer – you have to be able to offer something unique, and that’s what we do here in Medway.”
[made in medway] KENT, SURREY AND SUSSEX AIR AMBULANCE Innovation Park Medway at Rochester Airport has welcomed its first official resident: the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance. The charity has returned to the area where it was once based, after 18 years in Marden in the Maidstone district of Kent. Chief executive Adrian Bell says the move was crucial, as the Air Ambulance had outgrown its previous site: “It gives the sort of facilities we need 24 hours a day and we’ll run the sort of service our patients want.” Being involved with the community is clearly an important aim for the charity, which relies on public money to fund its essential services. Bell says: “We wouldn’t exist if the community did not need us and if they did not support us. The council has been extremely friendly, and from the leader downwards, it has been nothing but a warm welcome and support.”
RIGHT AND ABOVE: The re-use of space at Rochester Airport has attracted Kent, Surrey and Sussex Ambulance back to the area. BELOW: Delphi Technologies offers apprenticeship opportunities and ways for students to access the engineering industry.
DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES Other successful Medway businesses have been based in the region for significantly longer. Automotive firm Delphi Technologies was launched in Gillingham during the 1970s and is helping to keep alive the Medway tradition of engineering to this day. The company provides work experience placements and apprenticeships for students at MidKent College, Medway University Technical College and the University of Greenwich. Technical centre manager Richard Judge says: “We have had to cast the net wider in recent years, bringing in workers from overseas or other parts of the country. These workers are more likely to move back home at some stage, so one of the key things for us is to find
as much local talent as we can.” Delphi annually takes on up to 15 apprentices and around 20 engineering students full-time for a year as part of their university courses. Judge is on the board of governors for Medway UTC and encourages young people to appreciate STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects at an early age. He says: “The cars we drive, the houses we live in and the machines in factories have all been created and developed by engineers. It’s important we keep this industry going and have the right flow of talent. There are certainly not enough women in engineering, as it is often seen as a male environment. It’s important to make the connection with all students to encourage them to have inquiring minds .”
THE JUICE EXECUTIVE The observations of Delphi Technologies’ Richard Judge (see previous page) about the need to get more women into male-dominated industries, echo entrepreneur Alexandra Auger’s views about her successful juice company. The 26-year-old managing director of The Juice Executive has a senior management team with three of the top positions taken by women. She says: “Most of our employees are female, which is highly unusual in manufacturing. People are quite surprised about it, but I have always just been about employing the best people for the job.” Auger remembers the first time she gained a sense of how to produce good quality juice : “I actually saw the cold press juices for the first time in Indonesia. I had grown up having only ever tried pasteurised apple juice,” she explains. Founded in 2014 and based in Chatham, The Juice Executive produces around 400,000 bottles a year, employs 20 people and benefits from quick transport links to London for distribution. Auger is passionate about her product: “Most juices have either been pasteurised or have had some sort of extension of shelf life. If vegetable-based juice at a supermarket is not in the chilled section then it has definitely been pasteurised, whereas everything we do is totally raw. A lot of businesses start as brands, but we focused on the product and that’s maybe why we’ve survived against other juice brands.” Putting her product on the map led to Auger winning Taste of Kent Awards’ Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016. She says: “I certainly couldn’t do it on my own anymore and it is nice for everyone in the company to get that recognition. We have great staff and our workforce pretty much comes from within five miles.” Having outgrown a single unit at its current workspace, the firm has gone on to use a second unit, with the potential of adding a third by the end of the year. Auger says: “I think what is most rewarding is creating something with sustainability and longevity and making a really good product.”
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HOUSE AND HOME
Chatham and its surroundings have a lot more to offer than proximity to London: history, heritage and housing to suit a variety of needs and desires. Karen Jensen-Jones reports
he dilemma of where to live when working in London is not a new one. A small flat close to work or a bigger house out of town with a commute? A 2018 BBC News article reported Chatham as the best place for renters commuting to London. Set in the heart of the historic Medway estuary, this is one of the south-east’s most aspirational and developing destinations. It has a celebrated maritime and military heritage, proximity to London and its recent transformation is on a huge scale.
Councillor Howard Doe, portfolio holder for housing and community services at Medway Council, says: “Medway is currently undergoing a 20-year regeneration programme, which has already seen the start of many development projects. Our regeneration vision is centered on our residents’ needs, from providing job opportunities to a variety of new homes. Medway’s economy is continuing to grow, with many new businesses setting up in the area and existing businesses flourishing. However, we also recognise the importance of
ABOVE AND LEFT: TopHat’s scheme in Kitchener Barracks will provide new housing on a former military site near Chatham. RIGHT: MHS Homes schemes on Eldon Street (top) and Corporation Street (bottom), designed by bptw partnership.
meeting our residents’ housing needs. Around 30,000 new homes will be built in Medway by 2035 to support an expanding population – and this includes both luxury and affordable housing.” Local estate agents are also reporting a noticeable shift in demand for certain types of property. James Harber, assistant lettings manager at local estate agent, Robinson Michael and Jackson, says: ‘‘The opening of quick access routes to London has been one of the biggest reasons for the uplift, but we’ve also seen major regeneration projects along many areas of the River Medway, which has added additional reasons to relocate. “With developments ongoing in Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham, the area is going through extensive improvement programmes, which can only assist in stimulating the market. “In line with the more typical rental market, we’re seeing high demand for two-bedroom apartments or houses for either young professional couples or single people working in London, but priced out of the capital’s property market.” As Medway becomes a more desirable location, the consequences of rising property prices are issues that need addressing for the wider community. Ashley Hook, chief executive of housing association MHS Homes, says: “There’s a real housing crisis in the UK. The area has become a very desirable place to live because of its connectivity and regeneration and that means an increase in house prices. “We have to make sure the people who live here are still able to afford to, so schemes such as The Brook in central Chatham are crucial. We’ve redeveloped old prefabricated buildings and demolished garages to make way for 77 new homes. Another scheme in Corporation Street next to Rochester station is a mix of homes earmarked as affordable and market rent properties and although not due to be finished until 2019, there’s been a lot of interest in them. For people who live in Medway and work in London, it offers a realistic opportunity to commute as it’s next to the station and the homes are genuinely affordable.” With the increasing population comes the need for innovative solutions to housebuilding and Alex Darkin, head of development at TopHat gives an insight into its plans. “Chatham is unique because not only is it a short commute from central London,” he says, “but is also incredible
“Our regeneration vision is centered on our residents’ needs” continued overleaf
ABOVE: L&Q and Brooks Homes’ Capstone Green scheme is aiming for a mix of affordable and shared ownership housing.
value for money and the whole area is steeped in maritime history, with access to green parks and the river. “Kitchener Barracks, our most recent renovation project, has an incredible history through The Royal Engineers and we were keen to keep as much of that history as we could in the development. The site consists of duplex apartments, river view flats, houses and affordable housing all linked to a beautiful landscaped park in the middle. “Modern contemporary homes, alongside historic listed buildings, create an interesting place to live that doesn’t
feel soulless like a lot of new build schemes. And we’re very keen to create a community where people come together and make it a great place to live.” Darkin also stresses the importance of the quality of the homes as well as the environment. “The precision engineered homes we are delivering are a selling point because they’re so well made. Real brick, triple glazing and full-height windows and doors are just some of the key components that make these homes fantastic to live in.” Eco-friendly town houses and apartments are another innovative
building method at the forefront in Medway, which is also considerably kinder to the environment. At Capstone Green, just a mile and a half away from Chatham town centre, a new development by L&Q and Brook Homes, consisting of 110 homes will appeal to both London commuters and locals. The homes maximize floor and roof space, with increased energy efficiency and greater sound insulation. For those looking for a realistic and affordable solution to work in the city while living in an aspirational commutable location, Medway could be the place. M
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CREATING A PLACE STORY FOR MEDWAY T June 2018 saw the launch of a new chapter in the journey to put Medway on the map. Medway’s place story brings businesses and community organisations together to promote Medway as the best place in the south-east to live, work, learn and visit.
ABOVE: The launch of Medway’s place story at The Historic Dockyard Chatham MIDDLE: Students at the University of Greenwich, Medway campus FAR RIGHT: The Copper Rivet Distillery, based in Chatham
he launch, which more than 130 people attended at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, was the culmination of months of work with local stakeholders to define the story and create a brand that gives a clear identity to Medway.
WHAT IS A PLACE BRAND? A place brand is all about people’s perception of a place and its reputation in the eyes of residents, businesses, investors, workers, visitors and the wider public. Fundamentally, place brands look to showcase what an area or city has to offer to these groups and, crucially, drive that perception into positive action. Over recent years, place branding has become increasingly
important for cities, regions and countries - to secure a position in the competitive global economy and to inspire and instigate local pride and attachment. In addition to the fine examples run in recent years by places such as New York, Amsterdam and Paris, closer to home is the meteoric success enjoyed by the City of Coventry in securing the opportunity to host the 2021 UK City of Culture. The successful bid has come hot on the heels of a major place strategy, which is supported by businesses and the community of Coventry and has changed the reputation of the city. The bold transformation that has taken place across Medway in recent years combined with our ambitious regeneration vision
promotional feature meant it was a no-brainer in this 20th anniversary year to work with our community to launch a place story for Medway. Medway Council Leader, Cllr Alan Jarrett, explains: “We know that at the heart of economic growth is the need to tell a powerful, compelling, authentic story that draws people in and builds a picture of the assets of the areas we are championing and connects them with the audiences we are seeking. “We have an excellent opportunity to promote Medway and its unique advantages through an innovative, assetbased partnership approach to place marketing. We believe this will be vital to help us attract new businesses to locate and invest in Medway, creating jobs and driving economic growth, and to attract new residents as well as cultural providers. We believe that this work will really put ‘Medway on the map’. “Boosting Medway’s economy is fundamental to our vision to stimulate a virtuous cycle of growth that sees rising skills and wage levels for local people and businesses moving to Medway, all supporting the planned growth in housing numbers in a sustainable way. We want Medway the place to punch above its weight and lead the development of the Thames Gateway region.”
CREATING THE STORY The Medway community played an integral role in the creation of the new Medway Story. Place consultants thinkingplace, who were commissioned to carry out the project, conducted interviews and workshops with a wide range of community organisations and businesses. An online survey received around 800 responses. Thinkingplace looked at how Medway is perceived and what people say about it and from there discovered the many special things that make Medway the place it is. John Till, director and founder, of thinkingplace, explains:
“At the heart of the Medway story was a need to identify the assets and strengths that define what Medway is all about, as well as what makes Medway and its people special and what makes it different. The story comes from Medway’s roots but also shapes its tomorrow.”
A PLACE DESTINED FOR BIG THINGS The Medway story has three key themes, supported by an overriding vision:
Medway – a waterfront city a place destined for big things. 1. Making maritime history, celebrating our stories – recognising that in Medway you are walking in the footsteps of history, from the rich military and maritime heritage of Chatham and its historic dockyard, to the stunning cathedral, castles and museums. 2. Cultivating innovation and creativity – celebrating the growing reputation of Medway for high value technology and knowledge-intensive businesses making it a leading centre for innovation in the south-east as well as a strong cultural hub. And our four university campuses with 12,000 students are giving young people greater opportunities for tomorrow. 3. Valuing our waterside – the river is the beating heart of Medway and today is the focus point for the visionary regeneration bringing stunning residential, leisure and business developments as well as being important for our cultural and tourism offering.
PROMOTING OUR PLACE IN PARTNERSHIP A willingness and desire of local businesses and organisations to stand up for the area and play a part in raising its profile will be critical to the success of this project. Such support has been instrumental in securing the success of places like Coventry. Support so far has been strong. A Place Board has been created, bringing together key organisations and individuals across Medway and is chaired by Simon Cook, Principal and Chief Executive of MidKent College. The Board has overseen the development of the story and will provide a continuing senior and strong presence, standing up for the area and playing an active role in taking Medway forward.
A Champions Programme gets underway this autumn. The programme is effectively a place network that will give businesses and organisations the chance to come together to learn about the development of Medway and see how they can support and promote Medway the place, as well as creating relationships that benefit themselves and the area. At the end of the June place story launch, the audience flocked to sign up their support for the Medway Champions, demonstrating the passion and confidence that local people have for Medway - a clear demonstration that the best is yet to come. For more information on the Champions programme contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“We want Medway the place to punch above its weight and lead the development of the Thames Gateway region.”
A NEW DAWN
The redevelopment of Rochester Riverside will transform the Medway region over the next decade. James Cracknell speaks to the project developer and architect about the importance of the planning process in progressing the scheme, and how vital it is to work with a council which shares its vision and objectives
or a developer, Rochester Riverside is a scheme that has everything; a large brownfield site in the town centre, next to a station offering 30-minute rail services to London, with river views and historic surroundings. Yet, this same ex-industrial plot remained stubbornly undeveloped for decades. The 2008 financial crash scuppered an earlier masterplan, forcing
Medway Council to dig out its drawing board. Years of further discussion followed, until a development agreement with Countryside and The Hyde Group was finally signed in March 2017. The rate of progress since then has been impressive; planning permission was granted in October – after just a single objection – and the ground was broken in February 2018. The £419 million project will provide up to 1,400 homes and 1,200sq m of
commercial space once fully finished in 2030. Also included is an 81-bed hotel, a 2km riverside walk, more than four hectares of open space, a school, and 25% of housing is earmarked as affordable. The first wave of new homes should be occupied within a year. Rochester’s wasteland is finally being transformed into something the town can be proud of. But how has this been made possible? Both Countryside and the design team,
ABOVE AND TOP RIGHT: Waterside living and accessible open space will be introduced to the riverside site. RIGHT: Projections for an 81-bed hotel next to Rochester railway station.
led by bptw partnership and HTA Design have sung the praises of Medway Council for its constructive approach. Planning consultant and bptw partner Gerry Cassidy says: “The lack of any objections for a 1,400-home scheme is quite extraordinary. That is down to the consultation and collaboration with both parties, and it being very transparent. The authority has a very can-do attitude and that helped.” Andy Fancy, managing director for north and south London at Countryside Partnerships South, agrees: “The council has been a dream. Sometimes you don’t see the officers and councillors tied together, but they have both had a clear vision of what they want to do. The way they have given us clarity and focus has been really helpful. Twelve months from the development agreement, we started on-site. That is just unheard of.” At the heart of this vision is the way the historic and cultural features of Rochester have informed the design of the project. With a medieval cathedral and castle to be inspired by, as well as a pretty town centre and maritime heritage, there was a lot to
“Councillors and officers have been aligned around making this happen. It has been a breath of fresh air” consider. To aid this process, the design team arranged a ‘walkabout’ of Rochester with planning committee members and other local councillors invited to meet with project stakeholders. Cassidy explains: “Many authorities do shy away from member engagement at the pre-application stage. The planning committee traditionally says it doesn’t want to engage because it might predetermine a decision, but provided they approach it with an open mind, on huge schemes that are crucial to Medway’s development, they can express their hopes and be pro-active. “We did a walkabout in a relaxed atmosphere, so they could point out what they think makes Rochester, Rochester. Too often authorities will only point out what is wrong but we wanted them to tell us what was right.” Chris Bath, architectural director at bptw, adds: “We knew there was a lot of interest in it. Everyone had an opinion on what they wanted it to be. We had cameras with us to take pictures of Rochester as we went around. “The main thing we got from that was the variety of designs there were in the town. We realised they didn’t want a traditional housing estate.”
Some of the local features picked up from this day included the variety of roof designs, use of high quality materials, and importance of sight lines to the cathedral. Another helpful contributor at this stage was local historian John Austin, who met the design team and gave feedback. Bath says: “John is in his mid-80s and he brought a portfolio of his drawings of the river going back about 50 years – he used to be an art teacher. We were able to use these to bring some of that industrial heritage into the scheme. “We drew up six design principles which related to the site and its history. It is an amalgamation of town meets river and we needed to manage the two. “The bricks in the materials of our design are what you see when you walk around Rochester. We also developed a style of townhouse with a typology that relates to both the river and the town centre. “Another of the outcomes from our walkabout was that there should be unexpected elements, so you don’t know what you’ll see when you turn a corner.” There were two public consultations held prior to planning submission, with 200 people attending and 175 providing written feedback.
LEFT: Gerry Cassidy (left) and Chris Bath (right) of architect bptw partnership. RIGHT AND BELOW: projected images for the scheme. BOTTOM LEFT: consultations over the project.
“This scheme had been in the ditch for over a decade,” explains Cassidy. “Every time local people went into London on the train they got a visible reminder of how this site hadn’t been developed. We made sure there was a united front.” As well as its high level of engagement, Fancy was impressed with the way the council helped remove some of the hurdles that might otherwise have held up the development yet further. “The land had been unused for 20 years. The way the council assembled the land with Homes England, bringing the sites together alongside the riverside defence wall, a lot of developers could
have said was too risky, but the council was very helpful in taking those risks away. It allowed us to think beyond the engineering challenges. “The council is well-resourced. All of the officers and councillors have been aligned around making this happen. It has been a breath of fresh air. Having access to committed senior people has been really helpful.” Fancy’s team at Countryside also worked alongside local businesses to ensure the scheme would enhance the town’s existing economy. “We spoke to Castle View Business Park, which fed into our plan. We wanted to make sure we were good neighbours.
“There are a lot of independent retailers and for that to continue, we need people coming in and it will make sure we keep Rochester High Street alive.” Countryside had previously worked with Medway Council on the St Mary’s Island development in Chatham’s Royal Dockyard. “On these schemes reputation is everything,” says Fancy. “The way the council works with their partners has really helped. “From our point of view, the project is a fantastic win. We didn’t want to just cram homes in, we wanted to create a sense of place for people.” Bath from bptw is similarly enthused: “It is one of the most exciting projects I
have ever worked on,” he says. “There was an open expanse of grassland, with the river on one side and the town and the cathedral on the other. We wanted to bring that excitement to the local community. We felt there needed to be a sense of ownership as well. “Everybody was so inspired by this project that they all pulled together, so that when there were problems they were determined to find a solution. It is quite rare in my experience.” Phase one of Rochester Riverside has already launched, with Hyde, one of the largest housing associations in the country, beginning the delivery of homes alongside Countryside. M
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Medway Council has dubbed 2018 “the year of the Strood” – with new work spaces to attract an enterprising work force and projects to rejuvenate the town centre under way. Maria Shahid reports
rowth in Medway has progressed at a rapid rate in recent years, and the council has been keen not only to encourage new businesses to move to the area, but to ensure they stay put. The local authority believes this will be achieved by providing additional work
space and Strood is a key focus area in 2018. The Innovation Studios Medway opened in September 2017, featuring 15 office spaces and 18 storage units, created using a kit of moveable and reusable parts based on shipping containers. It is the second project in Medway’s ‘innovation business’ series,
following the opening in 2009 and sustained success of the Innovation Centre Medway, based in nearby Chatham. Medway has a target growth rate of twice the national average, with 17,000 additional jobs projected by 2035. Currently, around 14,000 businesses call Medway home.
ABOVE: The Innovation Studios Medway in Strood are made with reusable parts.
Councillor Jane Chitty, portfolio holder for planning, economic growth and regulation, says the council works closely with these businesses, providing the support they need. “We have a very open approach to industry,” she adds. “A number of organisations started small in Medway, and we worked with them. They talk to us on a regular basis. We really value our local businesses, not
only because it helps our economy to grow, but because it offers employment opportunities locally. It’s about recognising the gaps in the office space that businesses need to thrive.” Built on a brownfield waterfront site, innovation and progression are not only shown by occupants at the studios, but by the building itself, with the unique units assembled in just two days.
With businesses at the Innovation Centre Medway settled and expanding, it’s easy to see why the demand for studios in Strood was such that all units were taken by September 2017. Current tenants include a web design company and a music label and there is a list of local companies waiting to move in. Jet Stream Tours, which runs passenger craft on the River Medway,
moved to the site when it opened. Managing director, Richard Bain, says: “The fact that the site is right on the River Medway is perfect for us. It’s the ideal location, with great connections to two local stations, as well as the river.” Also located at the studios is fostering agency People Who Foster. Graham Bartram, its registered manager, explains that the agency focuses on
“The response from local businesses to the studios has beaten all expectations” help for children and young people that local authorities are unable to foster, by matching them up with the right carers. The agency has already recruited 10 such carers since becoming Ofsted registered in October 2017. With seven permanent business support staff including social workers based at the Strood office, the firm is already looking to take on more space at the site, giving it room to grow. “The location of the studios is ideal for us,” says Bartram. “The rail links to London and the rest of the country are fantastic. Having access to meeting
rooms and other business services at the Innovation Centre Medway is a great help.” The centre is a short walk from Strood station, which underwent a £2.59 million upgrade in November 2017 and opened in early December, part-funded by the council, along with Southeastern rail. “Having great connectivity to London, the rest of the country and Europe is vital,” explains Chitty. “When we opened the studios, many occupiers said proximity to Rochester and Strood stations was a key to their decision to take space here.” Farley Norman, manager of both the Innovation Studios Medway and
OPPOSITE PAGE: Constructing the Innovation Studios Medway in Strood has been pivotal to the town’s success. THIS PAGE: Jet Stream Tours is one of the companies based at the facility.
Innovation Centre Medway, says: “The response from local businesses to the studios has beaten all expectations. “It’s a great success story, and a number of the tenants there are already looking to expand. The studios offer a combination of good parking, high-speed broadband and excellent transport links to the capital and the continent. It’s a credit to Medway Council’s commitment to organic growth, helping local businesses and encouraging them to stay in Medway.” Companies based at the studios are also able to access business services provided at the Innovation Centre Medway, such as meeting rooms, networking events and training opportunities. Farley is passionate about fostering local growth. He explains: “It’s really what Medway does best. I’ve seen some great success stories. We encourage companies to grow at a rate that is comfortable and we are here to support them.”
RIGHT: The People Who Foster agency is one company based at the Innovation Studios Medway. BELOW: A revamped Strood station is a feature of the town’s regeneration.
The Innovation Studios Medway are a part of the council’s 20-year plan to make the area known as Watermill Wharf an established enterprise hub. Medway Council has also secured £9 million from the government’s local growth fund through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to rejuvenate Strood town centre. Improving the reliability of journey times, pedestrian facilities and the look and feel of the town in the hope of attracting more visitors are key to the project, to further boost Strood’s sense of place and pride. The first phase of this scheme started early in 2018, and is intended to transform the car park and market space in Commercial Road. Traders based at the market have been given the opportunity to trade at Gillingham market on Mondays and Saturdays, while the works are ongoing. Subsequent phases of the scheme are set to follow shortly.
“We encourage companies to grow at a rate that is comfortable and we are here to support them” Future phases will include improvements to pedestrian routes, cycling facilities, and improvements to the layout of roads, aimed at reducing congestion in the town centre. The council held consultations about the proposals during 2016, and its Final Strood Action Plan Consultation Report revealed nearly 70% of support for its proposals. Councillor Rodney Chambers, portfolio holder for inward investment, strategic regeneration and partnerships at Medway Council, says: “Strood is one of our key regeneration sites and is benefitting from £9 million worth of funding to improve the town for its residents, workers, students and visitors. “It is already a popular town with shoppers, business owners and the local community, but the improvements will further enhance the area and boost economic growth, providing further job opportunities. “Medway already has a lot going for it, but we are committed to regenerating the area and revitalising our town centres.” M
Delivering homes, workplaces and infrastructure for over 40 years
An all-new community constructed on £50m of infrastructure and delivering: 1,000 homes New village centre with shops, doctors’ surgery, village hall and playing fields New Medway crossing – Peters Bridge Primary school Wildlife reserve
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Education and skills are always a priority for Medway. Jane Thynne looks at how the council is aiming to stay top of the class
edway Council estimates that more than 29,000 homes will be built over the next 20 years, as its population swells by a projected 20%. As a result, pressure on public services will increase and demand for school and higher education places will intensify. However, by facilitating increased, targeted education provision, Medway looks to have all bases covered. The ‘academy’ model is at the forefront of the new education offer, with no fewer
than three faculties scheduled to arrive over the next two years. The Maritime Academy in Strood, a free school catering for 1,940 children (once fully subscribed) aged four to 18, is set to open its doors in September 2021. It is part of the growing TSAT (Thinking Schools Academy Trust) family of schools that has already gained success locally after taking over the Victory Academy in Chatham in 2015, transforming its ‘Requires Improvement’ by Ofsted to a ‘Good’ rating.
“We are extraordinarily proud of our track record in delivering primary and secondary education of the highest quality for children in Medway, and very much look forward to the next chapter,” says Stuart Gardner, chief executive of TSAT. In Rochester, the Riverside Church of England Primary School, part of the Pilgrim Multi-Academy Trust, will offer places for 420 children and is planned to cater for residents of the new Rochester Riverside development.
The Pilgrim Trust also runs the Ofsted ‘outstanding’ rated Pilgrim School in nearby Borstal. In eastern Medway, a new secondary school, The Leigh Academy Rainham (due to open in 2020) will cater for 180 children per year and will include a sixth form. Although the location cannot yet be disclosed, Leigh Academies’ chief executive Simon Beamish says with more than 1,000 new homes scheduled to be built in the vicinity, the school will be based where the need is greatest.
“Partnership with other providers is key to offering Medway residents seamless progression in their education and skills”
LEFT: MidKent College’s Medway campus. ABOVE AND RIGHT: Freshers at University of Kent. BELOW: Students at the Thinking Schools Academy Trust Strood.
“Leigh Academies has 18 schools in and around Medway, so parents already recognise the model and trust us to give their children a good education,” Beamish adds. “The school will be co-ed – which is a plus, as the only other comprehensives are both single sex – and we are also looking at a ‘grammar stream’ to cater for more able students within a non-selective environment. There will a broad liberal arts curriculum with a strong science focus providing quality all-round learning.” Along with new primary and secondary schools, further education in Medway is also flourishing, as the sector aims to bridge the gap between academic study and career development. MidKent College’s Medway Campus, based in Gillingham, offers its 4,000 students an array of vocational courses with the subjects of construction and engineering, digital skills, and the health and visitor
economy serving as the core focus. The college’s principal and chief executive Simon Cook, says a key emphasis is on future “employability” will be key, as students gain “the skills, knowledge and qualifications they need to contribute to the community and increase their contribution to local businesses”. Cook adds: “Our curriculum is shaped by feedback from local businesses, labour market research, and horizon scanning to identify organisations looking to move to the area and the skills they need. Recognising that partnership with other providers is key to providing Medway residents with seamless progression in their education and skills development.” In addition, higher education institutions are very much geared towards attracting local students, who it is hoped will then live and work in Medway. continued overleaf
ABOVE: Canterbury Christ Church University has attractive public space and a diverse range of courses, including within the medical profession.
Universities at Medway, Greenwich, Kent and Canterbury Christ Church have combined to provide a unique educational offer for 10,500 higher education students at the historic Chatham Maritime campus. The three universities contribute more than £143 million to the local economy, and provide around 1,200 full time jobs. Courses focus on science, engineering and vocational skills, including education and medicine (there is even a simulated hospital on-site, complete with wards and an operating theatre) and more than 12% of students live within the Medway area. Dr Susan Plummer, director of Canterbury Christ Church Medway campus, says the future aim is to retain
those trained in the area. This expectation was given a boost recently when it was announced that the campus would become part of a new medical school, following a successful joint bid by the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University. “The Kent and Medway Medical School will open in 2020 and will have a cohort of 100,” says Plummer. “The hope is that it will keep the talent based locally. Research has found that people often settle where they have studied. “There will be placements across the various trusts, which will boost the local healthcare system.” It was also announced there would be
additional government funds to assist local students from disadvantaged backgrounds who want to study medicine. Head of adult services, Councillor David Brake welcomed the news, saying: “This will benefit our local health care system, as more doctors will be trained and work in local GP practices. ”Our local universities already provide high quality further education and this adds to the opportunities to learn new skills in Medway.” While the area is undergoing something of a transformation, residents can be reassured that when it comes to education, Medway’s approach looks set to put it top of the class. M
A NEW GENERATION OF ENGINEERS TO GROW THE REGIONAL ECONOMY
Canterbury Christ Church University and key businesses in the region are creating new industry-informed, professionally accredited courses in Engineering and Technology that will offer taught and work-based routes – including a range of higher and degree apprenticeships – to maximise flexibility and choice for employers. To challenge the shortage of higher-level Engineering graduates available to work in local industries, the Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub will deliver work-ready graduates for employers, alongside new innovation services and facilities. This will include a new multimillion-pound facility in Canterbury with distributed centres of excellence across Kent and Medway. The EDGE Hub is supported by £13m Government funding, and will be critical in helping to narrow the gender and participation gap in Engineering and Technology education and careers. It has ambitious targets to increase the number of women and learners from disadvantaged communities studying these important subject areas. REGIONAL IMPACT AND GROWTH This dynamic model, with an innovative problem-solving and industry-informed curriculum, is designed to retain graduates in the regional economy and will be delivered alongside businesses on location and through satellite centres across Kent and Medway, beginning with Discovery Park. Medway and Kent will also benefit from the creation of a new medical school in 2020, in a partnership between Christ Church and the University of Kent. The initiative will respond to the regional demand for doctors, creating an important new pipeline of medical practitioners in the local health economy.
This builds on the University’s successful track record in health education and research at its Medway and Canterbury campuses, including pioneering work by the Institute of Medical Sciences. A HUB FOR INNOVATORS AND ENTREPRENEURS As well as working with some of the big names in Engineering and Technology, the EDGE Hub will focus on supporting SMEs. Businesses will be supported in responding to the latest sector trends with a programme of continuing professional development, short courses and guest speaker events. Companies will also benefit from industry-led research and development projects, focused on real-world business needs. Services will be delivered flexibly, built around companies’ needs, including work-based learning routes for people in work that can be funded under the Government’s new Apprenticeship Levy scheme. The EDGE Hub will also be made accessible to businesses, with locations in business parks, key research sites and near major concentrations of Engineering and Technology companies.
For more information:
MAPPING MEDWAY Rochester Riverside page 44
A birdâ€™s eye view of the projects in the offing, under way and delivered in Medway
IT COULD ALL GO WRONG
Horsted Park page 46
Chatham Placemaking Project page 44
[ site map ]
Command of the Heights
Medway Development Company page 43
Innovation Park Medway page 46
Chatham Waters, at the mouth of the Medway waterfront peninsula, is a project to develop the 10-ha historic naval dockyard. It includes up to 950 new homes, ranging from six-storey blocks to a 17-storey tower in four planned phases. There will also be a new waterfront boulevard, with bars, restaurants and specialist shops. Developer Peel has submitted a planning application for the second of the residential projects, set to deliver 193 one, two and three-bedroom apartments for private market rent, with
retail at the ground floor level, together with the boulevard and spaces for open air dining areas. This application has coincided with the start of work on the first residential phase, a 14-storey block of 199 one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Projects completed to date at Chatham Waters include an Asda Superstore, the Medway University Technical College and the Mast and Rigging restaurant and pub. Peel has also invested more than ÂŁ5 million in infrastructure, remediation, flood defences and road improvements.
[ projects ]
Medway Development Company
skilled tradespeople and progress with the work is less affected by unfavourable weather. Each home will be designed to function with low energy costs. Medway has acted because housing supply has not kept pace with population growth in the wider south-east region and home ownership has declined, while renting has become more common. It is a ‘property hotspot’ because of its good transport links and relatively low prices for the south-east, at 26% below the regional average. The council is a significant landowner and creating the development company will help it to put sites to good use because it can borrow cheaply and lend to the company at competitive rates. A report to the council last year noted the business model “makes a compelling case for investment of this nature; supply of property is tight, Medway is experiencing significant growth in property values.” The new homes are expected to sell rapidly, including to commuters priced out of London and local first-time buyers who want to get on the property ladder swiftly. Deputy leader and portfolio holder for housing and community services, Howard Doe, said: “Medway’s Local Plan sets out the need for an additional 29,463 homes by 2035. I am extremely pleased to say that the creation of Medway Development Company will facilitate the achievement of this target, and be providing good quality homes as part of the regeneration of Medway.”
Building more homes in Medway is among the council’s main priorities, and to help with this it has set up the Medway Development Company, backed by a capital programme of £120 million over the next five years. The council faces a challenging target to enable the delivery of more than 29,000 homes of all kinds in the area by 2035, and in July 2017 approved in principle the creation of a housing company to develop and invest in council-owned sites. This is now called the Medway Development Company, which is wholly-owned by the council and has two councillors on its four-strong board, as well as two external directors. The company’s business case has estimated that over an initial five-year period, £120 million will unlock 12 council-owned sites. Homes will be built on these and then sold to registered social landlords or private buyers to generate capital receipts, which the council can then re-invest in further housebuilding. A draft build programme has suggested that the initial 12 sites could accommodate nearly 700 homes, while over the next five-to-10 years, more than 1,500 homes could be built. These would use modular off-site construction techniques, under which standardised components are made in factories and assembled on-site. The components are cheaper than conventional building materials and this means there is less need for scarce
Rochester Riverside is Medway’s flagship £400 million regeneration project, bringing to life 20 hectares area of brownfield land, stretching from Rochester Bridge to Doust Way. It will provide new homes and open spaces, retail and leisure facilities and improve the link between the River Medway and Rochester High Street. The project is being managed by Medway Council and Homes England, which has invested in site assembly, flood defences and remediation. Over the next 15 years, the site is intended to provide around 1,400 homes, 25% of which are planned as affordable, four hectares of open space and more than 10,000sq m of public amenities. Homes will be connected by a network of green spaces, walkways and tree-lined streetscapes. Developer Countryside and social landlord Hyde Housing have detailed planning permission for the first three phases of 489 homes in all, and expect show homes to be available in September, with the first properties ready for 2019. The area will be developed over the next 12 years in four distinct neighbourhoods, complete with a new primary school, nursery and hotel. Rochester’s history has been reflected in the architectural designs used to celebrate the heritage and waterfront setting. When complete, the scheme will open up a part of the Medway riverside for the first time and create an extra two kilometres of walkway for public use.
The £4 million Chatham Placemaking project, financed through the Local Growth Fund and Growing Places Fund, to improve journeys from Chatham railway station to the waterfront bus station and town centre, will be completed in the summer of 2018. The programme has included work to Chatham Railway Station, New Cut Junction, St John’s Square, Military Square and Military Junction. LDA Design and Project Centre have worked with Medway Council to design a scheme that will create an easier journey and prioritise pedestrians and cyclists by improving the routes between the station, the town centre and Chatham waterfront. Public art consultancy Francis Knight was appointed by the council to work on public realm improvements and artist Christopher Tipping was commissioned to lead the project. The council is working with Network Rail and train operator Southeastern to regenerate the streets and spaces around the station and improve links between the station, the town and the bus station, by remodelling the area in front of the station, widening and resurfacing the pavements and
walkways and creating new taxi and drop-off bays. At New Cut Junction, paths will be widened to encourage pedestrians and cyclists towards the town centre, with a lighting feature on the bridge to make it easier for visitors to find their way. Former fire station arches have been converted to allow the establishment of a glass-fronted restaurant. It is expected that this will add to “the sense of arrival” into Chatham. The wide pedestrian and cycle path will continue into St John’s Square, along Railway Street and past St John’s Church and a new public square will be created including text-engraved steps, with the old concrete wall removed to improve visibility. It will feature two new civic spaces, one at St John’s steps and the other at Military Square, both of which will be completed in the summer. Military Square will get new paving and trees, while at Military Road there will be paving between the Pentagon entrance and bus station to clearly define it as a pedestrian area. A launch event is being planned for July to mark the completion of the steps and the square.
[ projects ]
Command of the Heights
Command of the Heights is a project delivering on a £1.8 million Heritage Lottery Fund bid in central Chatham. The project was developed by Medway Council and the Fort Amherst Heritage Trust, as part of efforts to increase access, awareness and enjoyment of the area’s heritage. Fort Amherst is the largest fort in England dating from the era of the Napoleonic wars. This huge project will include the careful demolition of the Riverside One studio, which sits within the walls of the historically important Barrier Ditch, built during the Seven Years War (1754-63). The Barrier Ditch will be reconnected to the River Medway to restore the relationship to the river and the dockyard that the fort was built to protect. When built, the ditch was a critical part of the defences, an unscalable obstacle and embankment which dramatically divided the military and civilian areas of Chatham. It is expected that cannons and other historic military items could be discovered buried beneath the surface during the restoration process. The Command of the Heights gallery will also create a new entrance to Fort Amherst from Chatham town centre and will see the restoration of the Spur Battery, which will be transformed into an amphitheatre with seating to allow for outdoor performances. Medway’s portfolio holder for housing and community services, Howard Doe, said: “There is a lot to learn about the
area’s military and naval history, and through Command of the Heights we hope to capture the imagination of Medway residents and those from further afield.” Since receiving the lottery award in March 2017, the council has been preparing plans for the demolition of Riverside One, building the amphitheatre and plans to create a new entrance at Barrier Ditch. Works are due to start this summer and will finish in early 2019. A time-lapse project will capture the works showing them ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’. The site formerly occupied by Riverside One will provide a new public open space, from which visitors will be able to find out information about the Napoleonic-era defences. After the works are complete the focus will turn to increasing public engagement and participation. Members of the public have already been invited to get involved in community archaeology, cataloguing the artillery collection and school education programmes. Stuart McLeod, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said: “This project will restore Fort Amherst, reconnect it with the waterfront, and help join the dots for locals and visitors alike on the unique story of Chatham’s significant military heritage.” Command of the Heights will extend and complement the HLF-funded Command of the Oceans programme running at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham. (see new,s, page 9)
Horsted Park is a 0.8-ha development of three and four-bedroom houses, with designs inspired by old Kentish farmsteads. The final phase of the planned 652 homes have been built and only a few remain to be sold by developer Countryside. Homes were built in phases, with 63 in an extra care scheme in which older people have normal tenancy rights and independence, but can call for assistance as they choose. Countryside has also sold 43 plots to social landlord Moat.
The site was formerly Mid Kent College and is close to Fort Amherst (see page 45). Residents have easy access to the M2, A2 and M20, Chatham railway station and highly rated local schools. Horsted Park has won a number of awards, including Best Major Residential Development at the 2014 Kent Design and Development Awards, sponsored by Kent County Council, DHA Planning and Maxim. It also won the completed scheme category of the Housing Design Awards 2014.
Innovation Park Medway
Innovation Park Medway has welcomed the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance as its first tenant. The service is returning to Rochester airport after 18 years in Marden and its 30 staff will be relocating to the Innovation Park Medway. Air ambulance chief executive Adrian Bell said: “It is very exciting for us to be part of Innovation Park Medway. “At this significant time of development within our service, our new charity offices will enable our hardworking team to foster their creativity and work with volunteers, fundraisers and supporters alike to ensure we can continue being there for the people of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.” The Innovation Park forms one-third of the North Kent Enterprise Zone and will be Medway’s economic hub for business growth. It will offer technology, engineering, manufacturing and knowledge-intensive businesses the opportunity to grow in a bespoke commercial development of up to 100,000sq m of business space. The park complements the Innovation Centre and Innovation Studios, which opened in summer 2017.
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Discover Kitchener Barracks, a beautifully designed new neighbourhood of 300 homes in Chatham Dockyard 2, 3, 4 & 5 bedroom homes Available with Help to Buy* Prices from Â£300,000 Only 38 minutes from London St Pancras and 48 minutes from London Victoria**
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Terms and conditions apply. Please speak to a Sales Advisor for further details on Help to Buy. **Passenger journey time from London St Pancras or Victoria to Chatham. Source nationalrail.co.uk. External images indicative only. Pricing correct on 11 June 2018. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE OR ANY DEBT SECURED ON IT
This issue of Medway1 examines the growth of housing, enterprise and the riverside influence on Medway, with a special focus on its 20th yea...