Page 1

issue 3 2011 medway making history

Going for Olympic gold Page 10 Relocation destination Page 15 Chatham poised for renaissance Page 45 Innovation Centre Medway Page 50


A NEW BEGINNING Mott MacDonald is proud to be actively contributing to the future of the Medway region, helping Medway Renaissance and Medway Council to deliver the vision for the regeneration of Chatham town centre and the surrounding area. Archaeology Bridges Buildings Cost consultancy Drainage Ecology

Engineering design Environmental studies Flood risk Geotechnics Highways Project management

Public utilities Rail planning Telematics TrafďŹ c engineering Transport modelling Visualisation

As a ÂŁ1 billion global management, engineering and development consultancy with 14,000 staff working in 140 countries, we have been drawing on our international skills in order to deliver the best solutions for the local community. For more information please contact Stephen Coker: T

020 8774 2946

E

stephen.coker@mottmac.com

www.mottmac.com


contents issue#03_spring ‘11

medway 1 Executive editor: Kirsty MacAulay Acting editor: Siobhán Crozier

15

Features editor: Alex Aspinall Art director: Terry Hawes Advertisement sales: Paul Gussar Production manager: Rachael Schofield Office manager: Sue Mapara Managing director: Toby Fox Printed by: Manson Images: Medway Council, Medway Renaissance, David Fernandes Image 2 Film, SEEDA, Wikipedia, Plantlife, Medway Innovation Centre, David Lock Associates, University of Greenwich, University of Kent, Network Rail, Tesco Published by: 189 Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TB T: 020 7978 6840 F: 020 7978 6837 For Medway Renaissance

07 N ews

News from Medway, with updates on development projects.

10 Olympics

Olympic legacy delivering benefits to Medway’s communities.

15 Q uality of life

Relocation destination for business and desirable place to live.

22 M  edway future

Council chiefs discuss opportunities beyond the recession.

26 C ity status

Medway’s five towns aspire to become a city in 2012.

Medway Council Eastgate House High Street Rochester Kent ME1 1EW 01634 337154

32 P rojects

Head of Medway Renaissance Brian Weddell

42 R etail talking heads

Director of regeneration, culture and community, Medway Council Robin Cooper robin.cooper@medway.gov.uk Subscriptions and feedback: www.medway1.com © 3Fox International Limited 2011. All material is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written ­permission of 3Fox International Limited is strictly ­forbidden. The greatest care has been taken to ensure accuracy of information in this magazine at time of going to press, but we accept no ­responsibility for omissions or errors. The views expressed in this ­magazine are not ­necessarily those of 3Fox International Limited or Medway Renaissance.

10

Update on Medway’s main development projects. Retailers are keen to promote the changes in Chatham.

45 C hatham

Poised for recovery – infrastructure improvements in place.

26

50 E state agents

Viewing a buoyant Medway market, despite the economy.

52 M  arkets

Facts and figures: Medway’s vital statistics.

55 B usiness in Medway

Innovation Centre Medway, a business hub for the area.

45

55


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Great Lines Heritage Park, a huge expanse of green space in the heart of Medway, is undergoing a series of improvements. It is also the subject of a bid to become listed as a World Heritage Site, along with Chatham Dockyard and its defences.


Image for illustrative purposes only

Our store in Strood first opened its doors over thirty years ago and it’s thanks to our many loyal shoppers in Medway that it has been such a success.

We'd like to build on that success.

We're planning an investment in excess of £40m for a new store, right in the heart of Strood. As well as some of the latest in environmentally-friendly initiatives, there'll be more space to make shopping easier, and more choice for you. And our brand new undercover free car parking will only be a short walk away from the rest of the town centre shops.

STROOD IS CHANGING FOR THE BETTER... ...and we're proud to be investing in it. www.tescostrood.co.uk

INVESTING IN THE HEART OF

STROOD


[ news ]

news

medway 1

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Land Securities to lodge application Victory Pier is the latest of Medway’s waterfront schemes.

Victory Pier on Medway waterfront “For less than £90,000, people can buy a waterside home ... that is under a 45-minute commute to London”

Homebuilder Berkeley is developing Victory Pier, a mixed-use scheme along Medway’s waterfront. The project will feature over 800 homes, a 120-bed Ibis hotel and a supermarket, along with restaurants, bars, shops and leisure facilities. Launching in spring 2011, The Boathouse marks the first residential phase and includes studios, suites, one- and two-bed apartments, luxury three-bed penthouses, a residents’ gym, private parking, a hotel-style WiFi lounge and on-site security. All are being built to the Lifetime Homes standards and will achieve the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3.

A focal point of The Boathouse will be the new Pier area, which Berkeley, in partnership with Medway Council, is transforming to provide a range of amenities for the benefit of residents and the wider community. Bars, shops and restaurants will be complemented by soft landscaping and riverside walks. Berkeley’s managing director Matthew Biddle said: “For less than £90,000, people can buy a waterside home, built to Berkeley’s exacting standards, that is under a 45-minute commute to London. Victory Pier offers an exciting opportunity to be part of a vibrant new waterfront community.”

Launching in spring 2011, The Boathouse marks the first residential phase

A planning application detailing Land Securities’ proposals for the Lodge Hill site (pictured above) is expected to be submitted towards the end of 2011. The 28-hectare former military site on the Hoo Peninsula will eventually be transformed into a thriving, mixed-use community with around 5,000 homes, along with retail facilities, schools, health provision and two areas of parkland. A significant amount of community consultation has informed the progression of the proposals, with residents of the area and nearly 50 local organisations contributing their comments and suggestions on the plans. The Ministry of Defence selected Land Securities as land sale delivery partner back in May 2008, and since then the detailed proposals have been taking shape.


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Sainsbury’s committed to Medway development

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I]ZbjhZjblVhbVYZ edhh^WaZi]Vc`hidi]Z—&(b^aa^dc gZ[jgW^h]bZcid[i]Za^hiZY Wj^aY^c\Vi8]Vi]Vb=^hidg^X 9dX`nVgY!i]VilVhjhZYid[dg\Z VcX]dghWZilZZc&-%-VcY&.,%# I]ZbjhZjbl^aa]ZaeWddhi k^h^idgcjbWZghidi]ZBZYlVn gZ\^dcVcYh]djaYVahd]Zaeid ZhiVWa^h]i]ZYdX`nVgYcVi^dcVaan! Vh^i]Vhi]ZXVeVX^inidhiV\Z idjg^c\Zm]^W^i^dch#

?6HD :?3C:67 Corporation St work begins Ldg`WZ\Vc^cCdkZbWZg'%&%dcV —'#*b^aa^dceVX`V\Zd[^begdkZbZcihid 8dgedgVi^dcHigZZi!GdX]ZhiZg!^begdk^c\ igV[ÄXÅdlVcYWjhVcYW^XnXaZ_djgcZnh# I]Z\dkZgcbZci"[jcYZYhX]ZbZ]VhWZZc VeegdkZYWnBZYlVn8djcX^a¼h8VW^cZi# ¹I]ZXdhiidBZYlVniVmeVnZgh^hoZgd Wjii]ZWZcZÄihVgZ^bbZchZ!ºhV^Y8aagE]^a ;^abZg!XVW^cZiaZVY[dg[gdcia^cZhZgk^XZh# Much of Medway’s regeneration is based around its riverside following the success of Chatham Maritime. ¹I]Zldg`l^aaigVch[dgbi]^h`ZngdVY[dg Vaal]djhZ^iVcYVaal]da^kZXadhZid^i# >i¼hVc^bedgiVcieVgid[i]ZgZ\ZcZgVi^dc egd\gVbbZ[dgBZYlVn!l]^X]l^aahZZ ^ckZhibZciVcY\gdli]^cGdX]ZhiZgVcY 8]Vi]Vb·i]ZVgZVha^c`ZYWn8dgedgVi^dc HigZZi·^ci]ZnZVghV]ZVY#º Traffic flow and bus and cycle journeys will improve when works in Corporation Street are completed.

Chatham Waterfront summer completion 8]Vi]Vb¼hcZl—*b^aa^dchiViZ" d["i]Z"VgiWjhhiVi^dc^hhZiid XdbeaZiZ^chjbbZg'%&&# 8dchigjXi^dc\gdjeBdg\Vc H^cYVaa]VkZWZZcX]Vg\ZY l^i]Wj^aY^c\i]ZcZlhiVi^dc! idWZ`cdlcVh8]Vi]Vb LViZg[gdci#>ilVhYZh^\cZYWn 9*6gX]^iZXihVcY^hWZ^c\eV^Y [dgl^i]BZYlVn¼hVaadXVi^dcd[ i]Z=dbZhVcY8dbbjc^i^Zh 6\ZcXn¼hI]VbZh<ViZlVn;jcY# I]ZcZlWjhhiVi^dc!l]^X] ^hhZiidgZeaVXZi]ZdjiYViZYdcZ ^ch^YZi]ZEZciV\dc8ZcigZ!]Vh WZZcYZh^\cZYid^cXajYZ\adWVa edh^i^dc^c\iZX]cdad\nl]^X]

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Every effort has been made to ensure the new bus station proves a welcome enhancement to the town

Creatives drawn to light 6ÅdVi^c\XjaijgVaXZcigZ]VhWZZchZije^c AK'&!V)%bZigZ!hiZZa"]jaaZY![dgbZga^\]ih]^e! l]^X]jhZYid\j^YZh]^ehd[[i]Z@ZciXdVhi# 9Zh^\c\jgjVcYAK'&egd_ZXihjeedgiZg! LVncZ=Zb^c\lVn!hV^Y!¹I]ZA^\]ih]^eEgd_ZXi hjhiV^cVWanWg^c\hWVX`ida^[ZVc^Xdc^Xe^ZXZd[ adXVa]Zg^iV\ZVcYegdk^YZhV]dbZVcYkZcjZ [dgi]ZadXVaXgZVi^kZ^cYjhig^Zh!VhZXidgd[ i]Z7g^i^h]ZXdcdbni]Vi^hhZXdcYdcanidi]Z hZgk^XZhZXidg#8VgZ[jaani]dj\]idjii]^hegd_ZXi h]djaYWg^c\hZgZcY^e^in!deedgijc^inVcY ^clVgY^ckZhibZciidBZYlVn#º

Grain masterplan approved BZYlVn8djcX^a]Vh\gVciZYdjia^cZeaVcc^c\ eZgb^hh^dcidI]VbZhedgi>ciZgX]Vc\Z A^b^iZY[dgV&+)]ZXiVgZh^iZ#I]Z<gV^c 7jh^cZhhEVg`l^aaWg^c\Y^hjhZYaVcYWVX` ^cid^cYjhig^VaVcYedgijhZ# I]ZXdjcX^al^aaXVggndjiZXdad\^XVa hjgkZnhWZ[dgZVcnYZkZadebZcid[i]Zh^iZ XVcWZ\^c#

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medway 1 10


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<D>C< ;DG<DA9 Cities the length and breadth of Britain are seeking to gain from the 2012 Olympics. But few are as perfectly positioned as Medway, where the benefits are already being felt. By Alex Aspinall

continued overleaf

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TOP: The new pool at Medway Park. ABOVE: Pool exterior, part of an investment of over £11 million. RIGHT: The running track – Medway Park has already hosted one of the stages of the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in 2010.

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“It offers access to a quality of sporting experience previously unavailable in the region”


J Breheny Contractors Ltd Endeavor Park London Road Addington Kent ME19 5SH T: 01732 223920 F: 01732 223923 E: enquiry@breheny.co.uk

Groundworks Drainage & Utilities Residential & Commercial Infrastructure Highway Works Car Parks Hard Landscaping Structures Environmental Works Coastal Defence River & Marine Landfill Site Works Waste Recycling, Transfer & Treatment Ground Remediation BES Batching & Installation

www.breheny.co.uk . SOLUTIONS THROUGH INNOVATION

.


It takes more than hot air to get a project off the ground. At Nabarro, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re proud to have advised on landmark regeneration projects in Medway and across the UK. And we know that the one thing our clients need to help them cut through the legal maze, is clarity. So youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll hear no waffle or lawyer-speak from us. Just clear, straightforward advice to help you deliver your project swiftly and painlessly.

Contact Niall Logan on +44 (0)114 279 4000 www.nabarro.com


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Nestled between the bright lights of London and the tranquillity of beautiful coastline and countryside, Charlotte Goodworth finds that Medwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attractive waterfront location perfectly positions it to offer an enviable lifestyle to those living and working there

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[ quality of life ]

medway 1

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ABOVE: Medway’s attractions include Rochester Castle, lush countryside, riverfront living, shopping at Chatham’s Pentagon centre, and the marina and luxury apartments at Chatham Maritime.

I

n December 2009, Medway’s connectivity was given a massive boost with the opening of the new high-speed rail service to London, cutting the journey time to 33 minutes. While businesses and residents have since benefited from their proximity to the capital, Medway itself offers a great deal to encourage locals to stay close to home. The five towns that make up the city of Medway – Chatham, Gillingham, Rochester, Rainham and Strood – are all undergoing the most significant development in the south-east, in a transformation which will vastly improve their existing unique attributes. Chatham’s rich heritage is being maximised with the development of the

former dockyard on the River Medway, Chatham Maritime, which is providing attractive riverside living and a thriving business community. The Historic Dockyard welcomes 150,000 visitors a year and the waterfront is now a relaxing place to spend time, perhaps enjoying a glass of chilled wine outside The Ship & Trades pub, housed in the 1875 former dockyard offices and engineering shop. You may even catch a glimpse of a historic tall ship as it docks nearby. The opening of the Dockside Factory Outlet shopping centre in Chatham has greatly improved the retail offer in an area previously in the shadow of the mighty Bluewater. It is breathing life back into the former dockyard boiler house, a Grade II listed Victorian building. Proposed plans to begin major improvements to Chatham High Street and Best Street would provide a further 30,000sq metres of shop space. »

The five towns that make up the city of Medway ... are all undergoing the most significant development in the south-east


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Rochester enjoys a similarly historic backdrop, boasting an elegant cathedral – the second oldest in the country – and a Norman castle with stunning views. Shoppers enjoy browsing Rochester’s rich mix of quirkier, independent stores, as well as picking up fresh local produce at the popular monthly farmers’ market. The town is also the proud host to the annual Dickens Festival. Medway’s flagship regeneration site, the Rochester Riverside development, will provide 2,000 new homes, as well as shops, offices and parks. The development will be set along a mile of the waterfront, which is being opened up for the first time in more than 100 years, to create a new community and an attractive and much sought-after lifestyle choice.

Gillingham is also seeing huge developments, not least the new student accommodation at Liberty Quays that opened in 2009, welcoming 600 students to these luxury waterside residences. It has also cemented its status as a venue for the London 2012 Olympics with the £11 million project to create a regional centre of sporting excellence. The Medway Park Sports Centre has already been approved as a Pre-Games Training Camp venue for 13 Olympic and eight Paralympic sports, which would attract lots of visitors and investment into the area. Away from the wide range of facilities that each of the Medway town centres can offer are vast swathes of idyllic countryside and parks. The Riverside Country Park covers 100 hectares along

the Medway Estuary, which is part of the Medway Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest and a great place to spot a colourful array of wintering birds. Ranscombe Farm Reserve is just west of Strood and has over six miles of public footpaths; it forms part of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Andrea Button, a funeral director for Button and Family Funeral Services in Chatham, has been a Medway Regeneration Ambassador for 18 months. She is keen to promote the city’s potential as well its fantastic location: “The Isle of Sheppey is about 20 minutes from Rainham and is popular with people on day trips from London. Stunning beaches, such as Herne Bay, are just 40 minutes away. Plus, there are many beautiful rural


[ quality of life ]

medway 1

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“The housing market is really buoyant, especially on the lettings side, and sales are gradually increasing, as are house prices”

villages, such as Bredhurst, dotted around the area, with their cosy country pubs.” There is something for everyone, both in terms of facilities and housing. Emma Jones is the manager of Dockside Property Services in Rochester. She has lived in the area all her life and knows what it has to offer: “Medway is perfect for everyday living and will cater for a wide range of residents from young professionals to small families looking for a community feel in a safe and pleasant environment. It offers a variety of schools, health, community and sports centres, plus plenty of green open spaces. “The housing market is really buoyant, especially on the lettings side, with sales and house prices gradually increasing.” The education offer is often a key driver

of any relocation and Medway does not disappoint. There are several wellrespected grammar schools, including The Rochester Grammar School, which this year was awarded National Support School status. Further education facilities have greatly improved during the last decade in an attempt to fill the skills gap caused by the closure of the dockyard. A unique partnership has been formed, Universities at Medway, in which the University of Greenwich, the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University and MidKent College have all come together on a shared campus at Chatham Maritime. The £120 million scheme has already seen student figures grow to 10,000, with aims for further expansion by 2012. »

MAIN AND TOP: Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest in the country and the town’s quirkily distinct offer makes it a popular retail destination. ABOVE: Gillingham’s Medway Park Sports Centre, an Olympic training camp and valued local facility. OPPOSITE: The Universities at Medway Campus offers greatly improved higher education opportunities.


Transforming education in Medway.

In February this year, the Strood Academy will begin work on a ÂŁ29million development that will transform its campus in Carnation Road. Designed by Nicholas Hare Architects the new campus will feature outstanding, state of the art, facilities that will deliver significant benefits both for our students and for the wider community. The Strood Academy which specialises in business, enterprise and mathematics opened in September 2009. It is jointly sponsored by the University for the Creative Arts and Medway Council. This development will be the first new secondary school building in Medway for many years. It marks also an important stage in a programme of transformation that has, in its first year, seen the Academy deliver a sharp rise in examination results. To discover more about our exciting plans visit www.stroodacademy.org


F \`LWT_d ZQ WTQP H LEFT: The Pilkington Building at the University of Kent’s Medway campus. CENTRE: Innovation Centre Medway has become a hub for business activity.

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“We relocated from London last year because Medway offered an excellent balance of convenience, resource and connectivity”

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TRANSPORT Medway’s proximity to London is one of its most appealing features and this linkage has recently been greatly improved with the launch of High Speed 1, the UK’s first domestic high-speed service, in December 2009. It links St Pancras in London with the Channel Tunnel, reducing the journey time to Paris to just over two hours. Domestic trains running from Ashford straight through Medway also use the line so commuters living in Medway can now reach London in around half an hour. The two new international stations, Ebbsfleet and St Pancras, also bring Medway’s residents closer to the capital and to mainland Europe. Medway has good links to the M2, M20 and the M25, with excellent access to Gatwick, Heathrow and Dover. The connectivity between Medway’s towns has been greatly improved in recent years and £30 million has been allocated for infrastructure upgrades, such as the demolition of the Sir John Hawkins Flyover in Chatham last year, and improvements to the bus routes. Plans were also approved in 2010 for a new hi-tech bus station for Chatham, operating using real time travel information. Work is under way and it is due for completion in 2011.


Future progressive medway 1

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Recession is never welcomed but for Medway, if it had to come, the current downturn couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have happened at a better time. With major infrastructure projects funded, work has carried on, laying firm foundations for future developments. Noella Pio Kivlehan finds the councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leader and regeneration chiefs confident

TOP: Brian Weddell, head of Medway Renaissance. BELOW RIGHT: Robin Cooper, director of regeneration, culture and community at Medway Council. BELOW LEFT: Councillor Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council.


[ medway future ]

2012: take note of the year, because it will be one of the most important times in Medway’s recent history. During those 12 months, Medway will know, in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, whether it has achieved city status. It is the bi-centenary of local resident Charles Dickens, the 200th anniversary of the locallybased Royal Engineers, the decision for Chatham’s inscription for World Heritage Site status is due, and of course, the 2012 London Olympics will be taking place, based in nearby Stratford. “There is no doubt that it will be a year of recognition for us,” says Councillor Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council. 2012 will also mark the completion of development and infrastructure, which has been part of the massive £200 million regeneration of Medway, scheduled to finish in 2011. Given that the UK, like the rest of the world, has gone through one of the worst recessions for 60 years, completing the work during this time is down to having secured government funding before the depths of the recession really hit between 2008 and 2009. Chambers says: “Projects were kept going because the government gave commitment… that there would be funding made available to

23

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continue the agreed regeneration and redevelopment.” But Medway was not entirely immune to the effects of the economic downturn. One of the biggest recession victims was the delayed start of the Rochester Riverside development which has planning permission for 2,000 new homes. Despite this setback, Brian Weddell, head of Medway Renaissance, takes an optimistic view of the recession: “We have said that if the recession had to happen, and clearly it’s been a blow and slowed things down, but if it had to come it couldn’t have come at a better time for us.” He explains: “This is because it hit at the start of a year when most of the work was government funded, so infrastructure developments and all other work has continued unaffected.” Weddell says ensuring projects were completed or started meant Medway was “laying the groundwork for when we emerge from the recession. It’s been a year of important progress with development briefs, planning applications and planning permissions on a number of key Chatham sites, as well as a year of physical change.” Since regeneration work began there have been significant improvements to Medway as a whole and Chatham in particular. One of the biggest changes was the demolition of Chatham’s Sir John Hawkins flyover, in June 2009 – a change that Cllr Chambers describes as “psychologically good for the town.” He says: “When we set out the proposals, some considered it to be a brave move but now people are saying it’s good that it’s been knocked down.” Weddell adds: “Demolition of a flyover that dominated the town centre in a negative way is important to the future of Chatham. It has opened up the town centre and it makes all sorts of things possible.” Opening up the whole region in another way, was the delivery of the High Speed 1 commuter services in December 2009, meaning Medway is just 33 minutes from London St Pancras. And it has already proved a huge success. Citing figures from train operator, South East Trains, a clearly proud Robin Cooper, »

“We have said that if the recession had to happen ... it couldn’t have come at a better time for us”


director of regeneration, community and culture at Medway Council, states: “Starting from a zero base, we now have over 300,000 passengers using the service every month, while an onboard survey got a 98% passenger satisfaction rate.” The opening of another train link – the domestic link to the Channel Tunnel, in November 2007 has meant that the Olympic Park in Stratford is just 20 minutes away from Medway. “We are seeing a tremendous knock on effect from all the improvements in transport – people are now making enquiries about relocating here – not just from the UK, but also from Europe. We have had particular interest from the finance sector as we now have a very good opportunity to make it attractive for them to move out of the City of London and to come to Medway,” says Chambers. As well as encouraging hotel development for participants and visitors, the major tie-in for the 2012

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RIGHT: Chatham Waterfront, the new bus station will improve public transport connections for Medway passengers and will be one of the best in the country. BELOW: Medway Park has already hosted its first modern international pentathlon.

Olympic Games is Medway Park, which has been designated as a training base for the London Olympics. It was completed in January 2010. Medway Park has already held its first modern international pentathlon. “We have been rated as a success by the international competition organisers who took part in the event. As a result, we have already put ourselves on the map for competitors,” says Chambers. Another significant transport improvement will be the governmentfunded state-of-the-art £5 million bus station, due to be completed next year. “The new bus station will be in stark contrast to the one that is there at the moment. The present station is drab and run down, but the new bus station, when built, will be one of Britain’s best,” says Weddell. And because the current bus station is in the Pentagon Shopping Centre, placing the new station outside of the centre, says Weddell, means, “There is the potential for major retail investment from the space created by the station’s relocation.” Ultimately, these improvements, and gaining planning permission for developments now, are building a strong case for future private investment. Medway Council expects future government money to either dry up, or be significantly reduced. “I don’t think government funding will continue, and it’s not because of the change of government, but it will be because of the recession,” says Cllr Chambers. “I have been working on the premise that we will need to seek out funding from the private sector.” Chambers says Medway is looking to national and international markets for inward investment. “That is the only way forward, as I see it.” Cooper adds: “It’s fair to say there has been a major financial commitment over the last six years both in Medway and across mid-Kent. We have one more year of that funding – which will deliver the bus station and improve the A228. There is a £10 million plus scheme to improve infrastructure out

“I have been working on the premise that we will need to seek out funding from the private sector”

to the Hoo Peninsula, which should unlock the potential to create up to 6,000 new jobs.” Along with all the improvements, city status is seen as important to the region’s future and for attracting investment. Cooper says: “With regards to city status, we are going for it and I think we have a good chance. We are a city in all but name and we have been a city in the past.” Weddell concludes with an assessment of the area’s position : “Clearly there’s going to be intense competition for future funding, whether it comes from central government or the private sector, or whether it’s European money, but we feel that Medway has a strong case for future funding, unlike a lot of the rest of Thames Gateway – we are already an established place. Money will build on what is already here. “The works that have been done in the last 18 months are preparing Chatham for large scale investment and transformation, which take place over the next 10 to 15 years.” M


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A city in all but name Towns that make the successful transition to city status report huge benefits to their local economy. For Medway, becoming a city would unify its five towns and the areas between them. Sarah Herbert puts the case for the south-east’s largest conurbation outside of London

F

our universities, a 200-year naval history, and home to the country’s second-oldest cathedral? Which city are we talking about? Well, in fact, it’s Medway, the largest conurbation in the south east outside London, yet only known as a unitary authority, or collection of five towns. But such an oversight is about to be rectfied, hopefully, with Medway Council’s 2011 bid for city status. So, what’s in it for Medway? Well, to make it even more attractive to investors, both nationally and internationally, by raising the profile of the area. It would create new opportunities to present Medway as a great place to do business, and attract more inward investment to increase employment prospects for young people by providing them with more quality local jobs. It hopes to follow in the footsteps of other towns that have become cities and seen substantial investment, such as Wolverhampton (which says city status has added an extra £2 billion to its local economy) or Sunderland which has seen Nike, Nissan and Barclays move part of their operations there. Cllr Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council, said: “We believe that we

have the strongest possible case. Medway has all the key city credentials. It has a population of 255,000, four universities, a further education college, a famous cathedral, a football league club, superb transport and trade links, a world-famous historic dockyard, a £6 billion programme of regeneration, rural areas and a great river setting. “But it is not the buildings that make Medway, it is the people. We are a city, in all but name. And it is the people of Medway – our strong, diverse, talented, vibrant community – who will champion our city credentials. The people are the driving force of Medway, and they deserve the recognition this honour would bestow. “We have to accept that we are part of a world economy and we have a duty to attract inward investment for the benefit of our community.” Adding weight to the bid is the massive £6 billion regeneration programme, transforming the town centres, rejuvenating the riverside and attracting students and new residents to the area, all making Medway ideally suited for further inward investment. The area has certainly come a long way since the devastation caused by

ABOVE: Council leader, Rodney Chambers. ABOVE RIGHT: The five towns could become one city. RIGHT: MidKent College’s new Medway campus.

the closure of the naval dockyard in Chatham in the 1980s. But the council is all too aware of the need to find other sources of inward investment rather than government funding, thanks to to the difficult economic climate. Says Chambers: “We have to realise that most of what we have achieved in the last ten years has been made in partnership with government and other agencies with public money. “We fully believe that with the squeeze on the public sector purse and the downturn in grants from central government, gaining city status would present us with a golden opportunity to gain yet more investment from the private sector, and put us ahead of others in gaining inward investment. “We all know what the financial plight


[ city status ]

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What makes a city City status, which is granted by the monarch, confers no special rights other than that of being able to call itself a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. But competition for the status is hard fought. It does not rely on any particular criteria, although in England and Wales it was traditionally given to towns with diocesan cathedrals, after King Henry VIII founded dioceses (which each had a cathedral) in the early 1540s. During the twentieth century, it was explicitly recognised that the status of city in England and Wales would no longer be bound to the presence of a cathedral, and grants made since have been awarded to communities on a variety of criteria, including population size. Local government reforms, which have abolished some corporate bodies, have deprived some ancient cities of their status, with Rochester, Perth and Elgin the only former cities in the United Kingdom.

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“We have to look now to engage with the business community and be able to attract business investment” of the nation currently is. I do not believe that in order to progress Medway’s future we can realistically expect large injections of public money. We have to look now to engage with the business community and be able to attract business investment.” The bid certainly has the backing of local businesses, including the KM Group, BAE Systems, Arriva, MHS Homes, Ward Homes, Peel Ports and the four universities, along with 67% of the people living in Medway. Historic occasion With the decision to be made in 2012 (other towns competing include Reading and Milton Keynes), it would be fitting timing for Medway: that year it will also celebrate the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth, and the bicentenary of the

Royal Engineers in Medway, as well as a submission for the Historic Dockyard and its defences to be designated a World Heritage Site. In fact, it’s that very historical significance that is one of Medway’s most compelling arguments for city status. The strategic location of the Medway towns at the mouth of the River Medway have made them historically significant, both to Kent and to England, since Roman times, when Rochester was an important site. It continued through to Britain’s seafaring heyday, when Chatham’s naval dockyard was a strong part of the country’s defences – building HMS Victory – as well as being crucial to its international trade. Rochester’s cathedral is the second oldest in Britain. The town had been a city for eight centuries, since 1211, but lost its status when Medway became a unitary authority in 1998. Now would be the ideal opportunity to reinstate it. But it’s not just Rochester that deserves to be a city: it is the combination of the five towns – Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Rochester and Strood – each bringing their own distinct identity, that is the real strength. All great cities are patchworks of distinct areas where the city together is more than the sum of its parts. City status would strengthen the bond between the five towns and rural areas, helping to unite the community. The cost of the bid is being kept to

Five towns: one city Strood population 33,000: the only Medway town north of the river, and home to many commuters to London Rochester population 27,000: England’s second oldest cathedral, home of Charles Dickens, and of great historical importance Chatham population 71,500: the area’s central hub was home to the Royal Navy for over 200 years. Its historic dockyards are now a beacon of regeneration Gillingham: population 99,800: this ancient town was in the Domesday Book of 1086, and contains two thirds of Chatham Dockyards Rainham: population 6,400: this largely residential area has a reputation for its excellent schools

a minimum, with no extra staff and on half the budget of its competitors, but Chambers believes that the amount the council spends on the bid will be far outweighed by the future amount of money it brings in. The idea of bidding for city status builds on Terry Farrell’s Five Towns Make a City report of 2008, in which he explained how to capitalise on the assets of the five towns: the area’s unique geography, topography and heritage; its national and international transport links; and the river, the main driver in the development of each of the five towns, which also provides a shared identity. Connecting the five towns, via improved public realm on the waterfront – now central to the regeneration plans – as well as connecting and healing the high streets, would create an area ‘greater than the sum of its parts’, he said, a 21st century sustainable city, with high-value, knowledge-based industries. As Chambers summarises: “There seem to be few arguments against Medway going for it. There is very little cost, but the benefits could be enormous. Becoming a city will help us put Medway on the map.” M


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We do more than just produce energy, E.ON is one of the UK’s largest power and gas companies – generating and distributing electricity, and supplying power and gas to millions of homes and businesses nationwide.

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Photo: Courtesy NASA©


Offshore wind farm

Gas-fired CHP construction at Grain

we build for the future And Kent and the south east of England are at the heart of what we do. We’re a major developer and operator of power stations On the Isle of Grain we’ve started commissioning a new gas-fired CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plant that will provide enough electricity for one million homes and businesses. The plant will also provide excess heat to the nearby Grain Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility and help save 350,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year by replacing fossil fuels that would otherwise have been used in the LNG gasification process.

We’re a major developer and operator of onshore and offshore wind farms We’ve committed, with our partners, Dong Energy and Masdar, to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm – the London Array – in the outer Thames Estuary. When complete, this wind farm will be capable of producing enough renewable electricity to supply up to a quarter of the homes in Greater London and offset emission of 1.9 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

We’re determined to lead the way in finding new ways to provide secure, affordable energy and to address the threat of climate change The south East of England has the highest electricity demand in the UK. This is set to grow, particularly as in the future we move towards the electrification of transport, which is why we’re committed to exploring new technologies.

eon-uk.com

Existing power stations like our own at Kingsnorth and Grain are set to close and the need to tackle climate change grows ever more urgent. So we need to replace this lost capacity in a way that ensures affordability and security of energy supply while being mindful of our impact on the environment. This is why we’re hoping to replace the current coal-fired plant at Kingsnorth with cleaner, more efficient coal units that we can use as a test bed for the development of pioneering carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Our vision for the development of CCS is the creation of a ‘Thames Cluster’ of projects that would see carbon captured from sites including the Kingsnorth demonstration plant and transported via a single pipeline up to the southern North Sea for storage in depleted gas fields. A Thames Cluster would provide the south east with the potential to lead the world in the development of low carbon technology. It would also significantly increase the potential for investment by other local carbon producers and with it, even further advances in technological development. E.ON’s CCS project at Kingsnorth, which is currently part of the UK Government CCS competition to support a demonstration plant, would provide a multi-billion pound boost to the local economy as well as a low carbon infrastructure attractive to future industrial investment. Carbon capture and the opportunities it brings for further low-carbon energy development will greatly reduce the release of carbon into the atmosphere, enabling the whole of the south east of England to decarbonise. This represents an unmissable opportunity for the future of the region.


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B:9L6NDC I=:B6E Projects under way across Medwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main regeneration sites, plus what is planned and what has been delivered


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IZbeaZLViZg[gdci ABOVE: An aerial plan by David Lock Associates, of the proposed development at Temple Waterfront.

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»


Supporting our customers for 100 years Morgan Timber has been selling top quality timber in the Medway area since 1910. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers from our current location as part of the Temple Waterfront Development. • • • • •

Environmentally certified timber Quality hardwoods and softwoods Cladding, flooring and decking Structural and restoration timber Selected by experts and machined to your specification

Call us on 01634 290909 www.morgantimber.co.uk Morgan Timber Knight Road, Rochester, Kent ME2 2BA

MORGAN TIMBER Timber Merchants, Importers & Sawmillers

PEFC/16-37-018 www.pefc.org

© 1996 FSC A.C. FSC SUPPLIER TT-COC-1879


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before Chatham town centre

The 15-year plan to transform Chatham’s town centre into a major regional retail centre, the most ambitious element of Medway’s £6 billion regeneration programme, has achieved several crucial milestones in the past year. The most visible change has had a major impact on Chatham’s appeal and on the quality of life for its residents. Sir John Hawkins Way, the ugly flyover that used to dominate the town centre, was demolished in June 2010, changing Chatham’s skyline completely and integrating the waterfront and the town centre more closely. Waterfront Way, a new route for buses, taxis and cyclists, now operates at ground level in place of the old flyover. This has transformed the economic potential of the town centre as well as improving the environment. The final stage of the Waterfront Way scheme will be the reinstatement of Chatham’s High Street. Union Street will be widened and straightened, to feature improved junctions with New Road, Best Street, High Street and The Brook. New and improved public spaces will be created on the High Street and Best Street, with improved crossings for pedestrians. Work began in spring 2010 and completion was expected later in the year. These developments will increase traffic capacity for existing road users and establish the essential infrastructure for future regeneration. Robin Cooper, director for regeneration, community and culture at Medway Council, reads the potential for movement in the market as positive. “The wider message here in Medway is

that there is a lot of investor confidence, with planning applications coming through from big supermarkets, which when delivered would create 1000 new jobs. Sainsbury’s plan to have a park and ride into Chatham and will invest £2.5 million in improving and building new roads at the entrance to the business park.” Sara Purvis, Chatham project manager at Medway Renaissance, said: “The improvements to the town centre will have a wider impact, as investors see public sector investment and the infrastructure that’s going in now as being really critical in the success of Chatham. This enables them to look at investments that they may not have considered otherwise.” Planned improvements for the next stage include a series of major road and junction improvements on The Brook and Union Street. Chatham’s high quality public realm will be established in new public squares and other open spaces. The new Chatham Waterfont bus station is being built outside the Pentagon shopping centre. This will also enhance the public realm with contemporary design of the bus stands and landscaped spaces featuring trees. The council has appointed a multi-disciplinary consultant team led by Urban Practitioners to produce a masterplan detailing the future vision for Best Street and High Street. A lengthy period of consultation took place during summer 2010, designed to allow the public to help shape the forms into which these important areas of their town will evolve.

LEFT: Sir John Hawkins Way, the old flyover that dominated Chatham’s town centre. ABOVE: The transformed street scene today. RIGHT: Welcome demolition of a local eyesore.


[ projects ]

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after

during

continued overleaf

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BAM Nuttall, rejuvenation of the Thames Gateway

BAM Nuttall

completed the major land remediation and reclamation programme on the Rochester Riverside site on behalf of Medway Rennaissance in 2008. The scheme involved the extensive use of dredged material to raise the land level , construction of new quay walls and the clean up of contamination from a former gas works. The site is now in the process of being developed. As one of the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest civil engineering companies we have been involved in many signiďŹ cant infrastructure projects in the Thames Gateway area and are currently completing our substantial contribution to the civils and landscaping works for the Olympic Park.

For further information or informal discussion contact: David Brothers: Business Development Manager Tel: 01622 852 000 Fax 01622 851 600 Email david.brothers@bamnuttall.co.uk

www.bamnuttall.co.uk

Tenacre Court Ashford Road Harrietsham, Maidstone, ME17 1AH

BAM Nuttall LImited is an operating division of Royal BAM Group


[ projects ] Funding has been agreed to deliver upgrades to Gillingham’s rail station. Its passengers will soon benefit from improvements to station facilities and easier access to the railway. The funding agreement is within the National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP), which is backed by the Department of Transport and will contribute £1.2 million. The Homes and Communities Agency’s Community Infrastructure Fund will also provide £1.4 million. Detailed plans for the station’s redevelopment are now being drawn up. It is anticipated that the improvements will include extending and refurbishing the station. The development also entails creating a new entrance, installing cycle storage and CCTV, refurbishing the roofing above the platforms and installing new ticket machines. Dave Ward, Network Rail’s route director for Kent, said: “Good rail links are vital for

connecting people and businesses.   “Passengers in Gillingham rely on rail to make 2.3 million journeys every year, reflecting the importance of the railway to the community and local economy. This major upgrade of Gillingham station will make a big difference to local people, making the railway an easier and more attractive way to travel.” Medway Council leader, Cllr Rodney Chambers, said: “This funding agreement is the latest example of major investment in Gillingham’s future. It will transform the station and the area around it. I’m delighted that this work can now go ahead, and the timing is excellent: the new-look station will be up and running ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, for which Gillingham’s Medway Park sports centre will be an athletes’ training base.” Network Rail plans to start work at the station early in 2011 and it is expected to be completed by summer 2011.

39

medway 1

Gillingham Station

BELOW: Gillingham’s new station will be completed ahead of the 2012 Olympics, when athletes will be using nearby Medway Park as their training base.

continued overleaf

»


11

75% 69% 76%

of delegates at SocInvest 2010 said the event met their objectives “extremely well” or “well”.

said they took away ideas and information that would help them with funding initiatives.

said the coverage of regeneration issues was “extremely good” or “good”.

The premier regeneration finance and funding event took place in London on June 16, 2010, attended by 160 senior regeneration executives from the public and private sectors across the UK.

Comments included: “Good selection of speakers and issues covered”

SocInvest returns in 2011 for the fourth year running. Can you afford to miss out?

“Flowed well and kept interest going all day”

Keep track of the developing programme at www.SocInvest.co.uk and subscribe there to the monthly newsletter and research projects.

“Excellent day - great mix of subjects and speakers”


[ projects ]

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Strood Tesco

As Medway1 went to press, Tesco was reviewing its proposals to build its new store on the site of its Strood supermarket, in the light of approval being granted to a competitor’s outof-town site. If concerns can be addressed and the planning application is given the go ahead, the store would have a net sales area of approximately 5,500sq m offering a range of food and non-food products, a café and over 500 free parking spaces. The S106 contribution would enhance the facilities in Strood’s town centre by helping to fund a community centre, with housing being built around the site. Tesco’s total investment in the scheme is calculated to be around £40 million. The company estimates that if it goes ahead, its new store in Strood would bring nearly 200 jobs to the area and would generate £1 million per annum for the local economy.

Tesco has pledged that it would work with Jobcentre Plus and other recruitment agencies to recruit from the local area. Louise Gosling of Tesco’s planning department, said, “We try to locate all our stores as close as possible to town centres in line with government planning guidance and we believe this development would bring huge benefits to the town. It would increase footfall and attract a different range of new shops, selling the sorts of things we can’t provide. Strood needs a big investor to show confidence in order for others to follow.” The store would be built on stilts to allow for parking below, maximising the available footprint. The Strood development would incorporate the latest in environmental technology. It would also feature improvements to the public realm through high quality design and landscaping of the open space around the store. M

TOP and ABOVE: Artist’s impressions of the proposed Strood store.


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I6@>C<86G: D;7JH>C:HH Chatham is already Medway’s retail centre. But it’s going from strength to strength thanks to the investment flooding into the town. Transformed shopping areas, an improved public realm and a better quality road layout are all set to boost Chatham’s retail credentials. These changes will bring further additions to Chatham’s impressive retail portfolio, especially if those considering setting up in the town speak to any of the businesses already thriving in the area

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Providing property & development advice throughout

Medway and beyond for over 25 years

www.harrisons-surveyors.com or call 01634 265900


[ chatham ]

Take me to the river

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While the downturn takes its toll on regeneration schemes around the country, Chatham is well prepared for the upturn. Colin Marrs finds developments in education as well as physical regeneration

T

hrough the ages, Chatham has proved a welcome sight to sailors returning from their adventures on the seven seas. For these brave men, the dry land of Kent provided relief from the travails of choppy waters around the world. In recent times, the economic downturn has provided its own global buffeting. But once again, Chatham looks set to provide some shelter from the storm. Residents and visitors to the town cannot fail to notice its changing face over the past year. Roads are being reconfigured. Development sites are being cleared. New buildings are rising from the ground. At a time when investors are cautious with their money, the regeneration of the town has pushed on apace. And with visible signs of continuing progress, so the roots of long-term prosperity are being laid. One of the most dramatic changes to Chatham’s landscape in the past year has been the removal of the Sir John Hawkins flyover, which overshadowed the High Street for 25 years. The removal of the eyesore has improved pedestrian access from the main shopping area to the waterfront, while a new bus and taxi route along Waterfront Way has helped to

increase the reliability and attractiveness of public transport. Sara Purvis, Chatham project manager at Medway Council, says: “The feedback from the bus company and taxi drivers is that they are very happy with the new road.” At the other end of the High Street, work is well progressed on roadworks to improve Union Street. Purvis says the two schemes have set a benchmark of high quality design for development in the town. To achieve this, Medway Council produced a design code which sets standards for the quality of materials that should be used, along with specifications for benches, lampposts and bollards. Purvis says: “This means that there is a set of guidelines in place so that future improvements will tie in with work being completed now.” The town centre road improvements are being accompanied by widening of The Brook, due to start later this year. It is hoped the work will make pedestrian access easier to even more of the town, increasing the attraction of key regeneration sites for potential investors. Purvis says: “The whole purpose of the road improvements and the changes to the road system in Chatham is to open up new development sites and to

ABOVE: The renewal of Chatham Maritime exploits the attributes of its waterfront. RIGHT: A very different view, before regeneration began. BELOW: Chatham’s High Street and Manor Road are undergoing radical transformation into an attractive centre for retail and leisure.

continued overleaf

»


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increase capacity so that we can facilitate development in the future.” One such site – the area bounded by Best Street and the High Street – saw a masterplan for its redevelopment adopted as council policy in September, following public consultation. The plans will see the addition of 30,000sq m of extra shopping space, half of which would come from an extension to the Pentagon Shopping Centre. The plan also allows for the expansion of the Central Theatre. Council portfolio holder for strategic development and economic growth, Cllr Jane Chitty, believes the plans will help Chatham punch its weight as a regional shopping destination, creating jobs for locals. Another planning application for the town centre was approved by councillors in March. The Queen Street redevelopment will eventually see the current council-owned car parks at Queen Street and Slicketts Hill demolished to make way for shops and 118 homes. This site borders The Brook and will benefit from road widening work, which will allow easier access. But bus passengers riding into the town centre have more than just a smoother journey and more shops to look forward to. In April, work began on construction of a new state-of-the art bus station at Globe Lane. It will significantly improve the experience of waiting for and changing buses in the town. Kevin Hawkins, commercial director at Arriva Southern Counties, says: “At the moment, the bus station at the Pentagon is quite unwelcoming, and changing buses can involve a long walk from stop to stop. This new facility will change all of that.” The bus station, to be named Chatham

RIGHT: The Historic Dockyard Chatham is home to 1878 sloop HMS Gannet. BELOW: The new Chatham Waterfront station will transform the experience of local bus travel. OPPOSITE: Removal of the Sir John Hawkins flyover was welcomed by Chatham residents and businesses.

“Exhibits in the museum are of national and international significance” Waterfront, will have 19 stops, including six on the new public transport route along Waterfront Way. The latest GPS technology will track the progress of buses and feed customers up-to-the-minute arrival and departure times. A travel information and ticketing centre and public toilets will also be built, along with new facilities for drivers and managers at the refurbished White House. July saw the opening of a major venture between Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, the National Maritime Museum and the Imperial War Museum. A £13 million new attraction at the No 1 Smithery building will house more than 3,500 official navy ship models, as well as

marine paintings that have been hidden for years. Neil Davies, chief executive of Medway Council, says: “The quality of the exhibits in the museum are of national and international significance, and we think that we could attract an extra 25,000 visitors to the town each year.” These levels could be further boosted if the town is successful in its bid to achieve World Heritage Site status for part of the dockyard area. The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), which owns much of the land within the bid area, has consulted on a masterplan for the “interface land” site just south of the Medway Tunnel, which lays rules for future development – ensuring it will be appropriate to the historical setting. Jonathan Sadler, Thames Gateway development director at SEEDA says: “It is our role to take the risk out of the sites, and provide certainty to potential investors.” In the meantime, development is continuing apace at the dockyard. Two new restaurants – pizza parlour, Zippers, and American diner, Frankie’s, have opened on SEEDA land, while the University of the Creative Arts last year opened a masters course on the site. The University of Kent is considering taking space next door to run a drama course. The nearby St Mary’s Island housing development has over recent years acted as a beacon of regeneration in the town. The winner of multiple awards, work has started again on the scheme, following a hiatus caused by the economic downturn. A £4.5 million grant from the Homes and Communities Agency helped breathe new life into the scheme with the latest development of new homes, boasting stunning riverside views, to be completed by the end of 2010. Further south on the water’s edge, another masterplan – for the redevelopment of the Gun Wharf site – became council policy in September. This was the location of Chatham’s Tudor Dockyard and later became a storage yard for cannons and other naval weaponry (part of the World Heritage Site proposals). The masterplan aims to retain historical buildings, plus providing new waterside cafes and restaurants, civic and cultural facilities and better links to the rest of the town. Running in tandem with this programme of physical regeneration, a long-term plan is currently helping to deliver training and skills to the local population. At the beginning of the last academic year, the local further education college moved into its £86 million new »


[ chatham ]

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[ chatham ]

medway 1

49

ABOVE: Waterfront Way will form part of the new bus station. LEFT: The Paddock Crossing section of Chatham Waterfront shows an enhanced public realm.

building on the Universities at Medway Campus. The site already hosted a number of higher education departments run by the University of Greenwich, University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University. Stephen Grix, principal and chief executive at MidKent College, believes that this proximity is helping raise the proportion of the population with both university level and vocational skills. The college runs taster sessions with the University of Kent, and provides an access course that last year helped 101 local adults into higher education – 87% of whom went on to study at one of the three neighbouring universities. Grix says: “There is a lot of great physical regeneration taking place in

the town but if you want to be truly transformational, we have got to improve education too.” The presence of the college provides real economic benefits to the town, he says, citing an independent study which found the college currently contributes around £136 million each year to the Kent and Medway economies. And Grix says that this effect is only likely to grow: “With student fees set to rise significantly, more students are set to stay at home to study. The new campus provides a holistic experience all the way through from further to higher education.” Retaining students in the town after they graduate is a key issue for Chatham, and one which the universities are taking seriously. Earlier this year, Professor Alan

Reed, director of regional development at the University of Kent, helped establish a working group with local businesses to address the issues. The group has already organised a number of work placements for students. Reed says: “It is a big challenge to keep graduates in the area, but in time, by working with business, we think the group can help to close the town’s skills gap.” Clearly, Chatham has not escaped the effects of the national economic downturn. But Purvis believes that it is impossible to underestimate the effect that the physical changes are having on investor confidence. She says: “The way the market is at the moment, there’s less developer and investor activity but there are investors out there looking at sites in Chatham. Feedback from them is that they see the infrastructure going in now as being really critical in terms of the success of the town – it enables them to look at options they may not otherwise have been able to explore.” Grix agrees with this and is optimistic that the investment which is currently transforming the town will help it to withstand the global conditions. He says that while the physical changes are providing immediate confidence that the town is on the up, the investment in training and skills will pay dividends in the longer term. Grix adds: “The skills which are being taught to the emerging workforce in the town will be of great benefit to local businesses as the economy recovers.” M


Lewis Wren Kent central regional manager, Mann Countrywide

medway 1

50

“Medway is a very diverse area; there are properties to suit buyers with varying budgets. One of the most affluent and popular areas in Medway is Rainham, where house prices are broadly higher than in areas such as Chatham and Gillingham. 2010 has been a year of mixed fortune for the housing market. It has improved since Home Information Packs (HIPs) were scrapped; however, as a result we are seeing more speculative sellers in the market. Many homeowners are testing the market with many not being realistic about the asking prices. In any market, houses need to be bought and sold and realistic pricing is the key to getting a sale in the current market. Medway attracts London buyers because you can get a beautiful 3-bedroom family home with a 100-foot garden in Rainham for approximately £230,000. We sell almost as many properties to people coming out of London as we do to people moving within Medway. New build developers are holding onto their land banks rather than building new houses. The only place which is bucking that trend is St Mary’s Island, with nice apartments and lovely detached houses commanding high prices, pitched at London buyers. Nearby Whitstable is another sought after area and Rochester, with its river frontages, is now very popular. Undoubtedly, Medway will be in a strong position when lending is freed up.”

A firm foundation Competitive prices, a good supply of homes and continued attraction for London buyers give Medway strong market potential, according to three local, regional and national agents. They gave Medway1 their views on how the area is performing


[ housing market ]

John Woodhall

regional managing director, Ward and Partners

area sales director, Your Move

“Rising unemployment and lack of available mortgage funds has detrimentally affected the Medway market. But the abolition of Home Information Packs (HIPs) saw the speculative market return. Stocks have swollen. Almost half of the properties we’ve sold this year are terraced houses, 16% are semi-detached, 14% detached and 10% flats and the rest a mix of townhouses and bungalows. The average listing price is about £188,000 and the average selling price is £165,000. There is a big 13% levelling out – asking prices aren’t always realistic. We have about 25% more houses available across our seven Medway offices, partly due to the end of HIPs but also because fewer properties are selling. Supply is outstripping demand, bringing prices down in Medway towns. Medway has a big first-time buyer market but confidence is affected by the availability of mortgage funds. First-time buyers in North Kent, worried about job security, prefer to rent than buy as they wait to see what happens. Properties though are still selling, although at 6-7% less in real terms on sales compared to last year. We’ve had to discuss with clients what might be necessary to realign their property to the market. Some can’t drop the price, where what they owe on the property is similar to its value. Another factor is that to sell in order to buy you have to be able to take a 10-15% deposit from your existing property because it’s harder to borrow money. There was a reasonable turnaround of new stock but this has slowed this year. Developers are waiting to see how the market goes but Medway is still drawing people from London. And we’re finding demand for property can be instantaneous if prices for interesting stock are set right.”

“Employment concerns strongly affect the Medway market. Medway is largely dependent on public sector employment with local hospitals and the universities. BAE Systems is also a big employer in Rochester. Concerns exist over how the company might go forward. We’ve a decent supply of homes but quality buyers out there are fewer. That knocks down prices. Yes, we’re selling properties but just not in the volume we’d like. New registrations are normal but the issue is trying to get vendors to competitively price their properties. Most vendors understand what’s happening to the market. Others simply can’t reduce their prices because of their mortgage. It’s far harder to get mortgages these days and without a 10% deposit it’s tougher still. The amounts being lent also make it difficult for people to afford to buy. So any easing would help the market. First-time buyers are not as numerous as in the past because of worries over the economy’s future – and in the past people could get high loan to value mortgages – 95% and 100% – so it’s not as busy now. But there are first-time buyers coming through and getting good value for money compared to two years ago. Developers are holding back on building new homes. It’s a bottleneck, as plenty of people need homes. This will turn but we’re not sure when. The Riverside regeneration project is a plus factor. And there’s a lot of land around Hoo. Its proximity to London supports the Medway market. St Mary’s Island bucks all trends with prices strongly holding up. It’s got desirable properties with good schools and enjoys good links to London. You can get a very reasonably priced two-bedroom terrace house within an hour of London. The normal seasonal improvements will carry on. I’m not expecting prices to go either way dramatically nor do I expect transactions to fall drastically. Prices in Medway are generally already competitively priced.”

51

medway 1

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Chatham

53

average property pricesao

Detached £305,301 Semi-detached £182,164 Terrace £140,144 Flat £112,882 (Land Registry of England and Wales, July to September 2010)

average approximate rentsao

Office £9sq ft Industrial £6sq ft Retail £93sq ft

population of working agear

59,600

(Cluttons, 2008/09)

Universities and colleges ao

£120 million investment more than 10,000 students 4 institutions, 1 campus University of Greenwich University of Kent Canterbury Christ Church University MidKent College

medway 1

economically active population ao

[ markets ] is Medway’s largest town with a population of around 60,000, closely followed by Gillinghames

15.9%

average house price in Medway ao

£178,682 job seekers ao

Medway

largest conurbation in the Kent and Medway sub region (SEEDA)io

132,800


0/@.,?4:9 0C?=, This section showcases Medwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s four universities; what they offer students, local businesses, the regional economy and, importantly, what they offer Medway.

Learning matters With four universities emerging in Medway over the past 15 years, the region now proudly produces a range of professionals in subjects as diverse as fashion, health, law and engineering continued over page

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Nurturing talent in Medway One of Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading arts and design institutions, the University for the Creative Arts builds on a proud tradition of creative arts education spanning 150 years. Our campuses at Rochester, Maidstone, Canterbury, Epsom and Farnham are home to more than 7,000 students from 76 countries, studying on courses in fashion, graphics, design, media, fine art and architecture.

T: 01252 892883

E: enquiries@ucreative.ac.uk

www.ucreative.ac.uk

Photo by Creative Careers in Fashion students. Garment created by Alicia Whyte, Sixth form Strood Academy, and Isabella Taylor, Year 9, Rochester Grammar School. Make-up and hair by Samantha Watts and Ashleigh Bunce, MidKent College Hair and Beauty Diploma Students.


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Changing lives in Medway 80/B,D 

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“Coming to university has transformed my life. I love nursing, and studying at Canterbury Christ Church with like minded colleagues and great tutors is helping me into a career I’ve always wanted.” Jacqueline Tagell, Adult Nursing student, Medway Campus

We are proud to be Medway’s leading provider of Health and Education training, supporting new careers and employment opportunities for the future.

For more information about our range of courses at our Medway Campus visit: www.canterbury.ac.uk/medway


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Greenwich Research & Enterprise making knowledge work

Get the best for your business At the University of Greenwich, our specialist facilities, expert training and world-leading expertise make us an exceptional place for business support. Our team of business development managers are here to help you access all we have to offer: • Business development

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Medway 1 #3 is a high quality publication dedicated to the regeneration of Medway. The magazine presents 72 glorious pages covering: the mai...

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