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issue 7 2014 medway making history

medway making history

COUNTRYSIDE. THE EXPERTS IN BUILDING PLACES PEOPLE LOVE.

Our superb developments in Medway have a signature style and character designed to work for the way people live today. The RIBA Housing Design Award winner Horsted Park in Chatham, and St. Mary’s Island, Chatham Maritime – Britain’s only planned new island community – exemplify our commitment to design and creating beautifully crafted landscapes, building lasting value for all.

FIND US ON:

Information correct at the time of going to print. October 2014.

2014

Find out more at placespeoplelove.co.uk

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Time travels Historic past to vibrant future Medway Delta Sound Setting the music scene Made in Medway Sustainable trade in timber Making headway Development opportunities abound


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. • • • • •

Luxury Waterside Living The Peninsula is a collection of suites, 1 & 2 bedroom apartments overlooking the marina at Victory Pier in Gillingham. Prices from £152,500 Tel no. 01634 786 968 Sales & Marketing Suite open daily from 11am to 6pm Pearl Lane (off Pier Road), Gillingham, Kent ME7 1FA

www.victorypier.co.uk

Proud to be a member of the Berkeley Group of companies Computer generated image and is indicative only. Price correct at time of going to press and subject to availability.

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


contents issue#07_winter ‘14

medway 1 Editorial director: Siobhán Crozier Editor: Maria Shahid Chief reporter: James Wood Head of design: Rachael Schofield Designer: Kate Harkus Production assistant: Chris Hazeldine Divisional director of business development: Paul Gussar Business development manager: Chris Joyce Office manager: Sue Mapara Subscriptions manager: Simon Maxwell Managing director: Toby Fox

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Printed by: Bishops Printers Cover image: HMS Cavalier, Photograph by Robert Radford, Provided by Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust Images: Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Damaged Goods, The George Vaults, Countryside Maritime Ltd, Land Securities, Medway UTC, Medway Council, Bellway Homes, Rikard Österlund, Martin Davey Photography, Dickens World, Monscter | flickr. com/100564108@N08, Nikki Price, Bruno’s Bakes and Coffee, Cafe Moroc, Berkeley Group, Lafarge Tarmac, Golding Homes, Mike.T Photography | flickr.com/fallstreak_ holes, Baggins Book Bazaar, Demelza Boutique, Dockside Outlet Centre, Man Alive! | flickr.com/24365773@N03, Massimiliano Calamelli | flickr.com/ mcalamelli, QHotels, The King Charles Hotel, Inn on the Lake, Ramada Encore, Premier Inn, Medway Little Townhouse, MidKent College, Event & Experience Design – University of Kent, Morgan Timber, Petr Krejci Photography, Oxford Properties Published by: 375 Kennington Lane London SE11 5QY T: 020 7978 6840 For Medway Council

Gun Wharf Dock Road Chatham Kent ME4 4TR 01634 331323 Director of regeneration, culture and community, Medway Council Robin Cooper robin.cooper@medway.gov.uk Subscriptions and feedback: medway1.com © 3Fox International Limited 2014. All material is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written p ­ ermission 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. ­ agazine are not The views expressed in this m ­necessarily those of 3Fox International Limited.

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05 News

37 Music

10 Visitor economy

41 Hotels

16 Hedonism

46 Markets

22 Map and projects

49 Training and skills

32 Retail

53 Made in Medway

Regeneration schemes and development happening in and around Medway. Heritage, cultural attractions and a packed calendar of events keep the tourists coming. From Moroccan feasts to local produce, Medway has something to suit every taste. A summary of the major regeneration schemes under way or coming soon. Rochester High Street is buzzing with independent and interesting retailers.

Medway’s Delta Sound continues to influence genres from punk to pop, With a thriving trade in tourism, Medway’s hoteliers are stepping up. Vital statistics – facts and figures about Medway. Medway’s training providers are meeting the demands of the hospitality industry. Long-established and nationally recognised, Morgan Timber majors in sustainability.


Our fresh approach to your premises. Professional FM services across Medway and the South-East. South-East Medway Norse provides high quality, value-driven commercial services including cleaning, Facilities Management, catering, grounds maintenance, transport, security and waste management. Our fresh, dynamic and innovative approach to FM is saving money for clients across the South-East – and raising quality standards.

We’re supporting local jobs and championing local businesses. Medway Norse is a major employer, committed to working with Medway businesses and supporting the economy through local procurement of services and goods. We’re proud of our local partnerships.

e medwaynorse@ncsgrp.co.uk w www. www.medway-norse.co.uk t 01634 283210

Medway Norse Ltd Pier Approach Road, Gillingham, Kent ME7 1RX


news medway 1

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Developer praises Help to Buy The developer Countryside Maritime has credited the government’s Help to Buy scheme with allowing people in their 20s on to the property ladder at its Victory Apartments scheme at St Mary’s Island. Referring to research by Move with Us, which found that Help to Buy is most popular among people aged between 20 and 29, the developer said that first-time buyers moving into its scheme at The Fishing Village, St Mary’s Island backed up these findings. Seven of the 17 apartments at The Fishing Village were purchased through Help to Buy. With prices starting at £147,000, using the government scheme, a £7,375 deposit

and a mortgage of £110,625 is needed, with the government loan providing the remaining 20%. Tony Travers, director of Countryside Maritime, said: “At The Fishing Village, we have seen buyers using the Help to Buy scheme to buy a property, including those who have used it to buy a bigger home than they might have done otherwise, with the intention of staying in their property for many years to come.” The island community forms part of Chatham Maritime, the regeneration scheme being built on part of the Historic Dockyard, which includes a doctor’s surgery, and a community centre, as well as a primary school.

New academy addresses primary schools shortage A children’s academy has opened in Chatham, with the capacity to eventually provide places for up to 720 primary pupils. The New Horizons Children’s Academy, which is based at the former Chatham South School and is managed by the Thinking Schools Trust, was created at the request of Medway Council to address a shortage of primary school places.

The £5.2 million refurbishment and remodelling work was ready for the September 2014 opening. It was funded by the government’s Targeted Basic Need Growth Fund. Neil Davies, chief executive of Medway Council, said: “This was very much a team effort with the council’s education team identifying the need for additional school places and working to secure the funding.”

“This was very much a team effort” Neil Davies, chief executive, Medway Council


Lodge Hill plans approved

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Medway Council has approved plans by developer Land Securities to build 5,000 homes at Lodge Hill, after reassessing the environmental impact of the development. Designated in 2013 as a site of special scientific interest because of the presence of nightingales, the developer has now submitted “fresh material” for the proposal, which has been referred to the secretary of state and Natural England. Land Securities said the nightingales will be rehomed nearby. Plans for the scheme also include three primary schools, a secondary school, medical facilities, as well as leisure and retail space. As part of the deal, the landowner must enter into a section 106 agreement promising to deliver a number of additional projects in Medway to cope with extra demand as a result of the development. Robin Cooper, director for regeneration, community and culture at Medway Council, said: “We are pleased the development at Lodge Hill is being reconsidered with fresh material from Land Securities. “A new sustainable community in this location will play a substantial role in providing Medway with the new homes and facilities it needs to cater for its growing population. “This is one of the key regeneration projects in Medway that will shape the future of the area and provide much needed jobs for young people.”

University technical college to open September 2015 A £10 million university technical college (UTC) being built at Chatham Docks is on course to open in September 2015. The college will specialise in construction and engineering tuition alongside a traditional curriculum for 14 to 19 year olds. It is located within close proximity to the Medway campus of the University of Greenwich and MidKent College and forms part of a regeneration scheme by Peel Developments, which includes

plans for new homes, offices, leisure facilities and an Asda superstore. Neil Davies, chief executive of Medway Council, said: “This new school will provide Medway’s next generation of engineers and construction professionals with the education and skills they need to succeed. “It adds a whole new dimension to the excellent schools already available in Medway, specialising in the kind of skills for which the area was renowned during centuries as a thriving naval dockyard.”


[ news ]

The Medway-based affordable homes provider, MHS Homes, recently completed two schemes in Medway. Amherst Heights in Chatham, consisting of nine houses for shared ownership, and Marlborough Road in Gillingham, with six apartments for affordable rent both completed in November 2014. Further schemes are due to complete in December and early 2015, including the Theatre Quarter, also in Chatham, consisting of eight apartments for affordable rent, eight for shared ownership and 10 for market rent, and St Andrews Park in Halling, which has a phased completion of June to December 2015 and will consist of 11 houses for affordable rent and 31 for shared ownership. A spokesperson from MHS Homes confirmed the company has a total of 150 upcoming developments in Medway.

A magical literary tour of Medway

Medway Council is running bus tours to places associated with former Rochester resident and literary great, Charles Dickens, during the weekends running up to Christmas.

The Dickens Country Experience, lasting two hours, takes visitors on a tour of areas such as St James’ Church in Cooling, which provided the inspiration for the opening chapter

of Great Expectations and Gads Hill Place, the property where Dickens lived and died. The tours are led by two costumed Dickensian characters, played by actors from EastEnders and Coronation Street. The tours began in mid-November and run until 21 December. The Dickens Christmas Festival will take place on 6 and 7 December. Robin Cooper, Medway Council ‘s director for regeneration, community and culture, said: “Medway is a magical place to be at Christmas, thanks to our links with Dickens, and our new tour helps celebrate the life of the great author as well as the places he loved and was inspired by. “This journey will give an insight into the life of Dickens and our unique country like nothing has before.”

Approval for revised Rochester Riverside plans Revised plans for Rochester Riverside have been given the go-ahead. Proposals include the development of around 1,500 homes, as well as open spaces, a riverside walk, a new primary school, leisure facilities, office space, and shops and restaurants. Residents and organisations have contributed to the application, following a six week consultation with Medway Council. Ideas from the consultation include a pedestrian bridge, potential for open-air entertainment areas and

extra ground floor retail space in the commercial section of the development. Robin Cooper, Medway Council ‘s director for regeneration, community and culture, said: “People in Medway have helped to shape the future of Rochester Riverside and we are grateful for the feedback received. “Now it is time to move forward with the newly adopted Rochester Riverside brief and masterplan, which will guide the development of this project and transform the face of the riverside.”

Low energy costs for Hoo homes Bellway Homes is developing apartments at Hoo St Werburgh in Medway that could save buyers up to £1,400 a year on gas and electricity. Research by the National House-Building Council and Zero Carbon Hub found that new build homes could reduce energy costs by up to 57% a year when compared

to upgraded Victorian properties. Blossom Park features two-bedroom apartments as well as two, three and four-bedroom houses. Steve Jones, managing director of Bellway Homes South East, said: “As a Home Builders Federation five-star housebuilder we understand the importance of good energy efficiency.”

“We understand the importance of good energy efficiency in our homes” Steve Jones, managing director, Bellway Homes South East

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Affordable housing booms in Medway


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The best of times Visitors from near and far are drawn to Medway’s rich cultural heritage, and its tourism industry is booming. Maria Shahid finds out about its attractions, past and present, and what the council has in store for the coming years

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medieval castle sitting on the banks of the River Medway provides the backdrop to a picturesque town whose rich history is intertwined with one of the country’s most celebrated authors. Take a trip to Rochester and it’s easy to see why the town has proved to be such an irresistible draw to visitors through the ages. Tourism is a serious business in Medway today. According to an economic impact report carried out in 2012, four million visitors come to Medway every

year, making it the second most popular destination in Kent, second only to its equally historic neighbour, Canterbury. Ed Woollard, Medway Council’s principal tourism development officer, is understandably elated – the local tourism industry is booming. “Medway’s numerous tourist attractions contribute around £297 million to the local economy, employing over 5000 people,” he explains. “Like elsewhere in the country, our tourism industry actually experienced growth during the recession.”

Buoyed by this success, the council introduced Explore Medway open-top buses in the summer of 2014, which start and finish at Medway Visitor Information Centre. “There’s a large area to cover in Medway, and this is a way of orientating visitors. The buses link up our main tourist attractions,” says Woollard. Visitors to the area can buy either all day or hop on/ hop off tickets, which feature a running commentary of the places visited. The “honey pots”, as Woollard calls them, the places that attract the most


[ visitor economy ]

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visitors to Medway, are Rochester and Chatham Dockyards. High speed rail links from London to Rochester take a mere 33 minutes, and once there, visitors can enjoy Rochester’s Victorian High Street, which abounds with quirky and unique shops as well as historic buildings such as the Grade I-listed Elizabethan Eastgate House and gardens, and Six Poor Travellers House. Both feature in the works of Rochester’s most acclaimed resident, Charles Dickens, who lived in Rochester

as a child, and later from 1856 at nearby Gad’s Hill in Higham. The Guildhall Museum on the High Street is also mentioned in his novels, and now houses the Dickens’ Discovery Rooms, where visitors can find out more about the author’s life, times and works. Just outside Rochester High Street is medieval Restoration House, described by The Times as the finest pre-civil war town house in England, and believed to have been used as a model for Miss Havisham’s Satis House in Great Expectations.

ABOVE LEFT and TOP RIGHT: The Fuse Medway Festival celebrates UK and international performers. ABOVE RIGHT: The Dickens Summer Festival takes place in June.

The author’s life and works can be further explored on two very different walking tours. A council leaflet, “In Dickens footsteps”, available from the Medway Visitor Information Centre, allows visitors to take self-guided tours, and for those looking for something more interactive, the costumed tour, “Footsteps in time”, provides “90 minutes of entertainment and information”, as tourists are guided around Rochester by some of Dickens’ most famous characters. Building on Medway’s connections »


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with Dickens, the council introduced the “Dickens Country Experience” guided bus tour in November 2014, which is led by two actors dressed as Dickens and his fictional nemesis, Elijah Puddlephat. The tour starts and finishes in Rochester, and includes St James’ Church in Cooling and Dickens’ last home, Gads Hill in Higham. A focal point for visitors to Rochester is its cathedral, located on the High Street, as well as its castle, which sits on the banks of the River Medway, and dominates its skyline. Both are referenced in the Dickens novels, Great Expectations and The Pickwick Papers, and are believed to be some of the finest examples of Norman architecture in England. The castle’s famous 43-metre Norman keep, constructed of Kentish ragstone and dating from 1127, provides magnificent views of the river. Its history of destruction and rebuilding dates back to 1215 when the castle’s southern corner was famously destroyed by King John, and was subsequently rebuilt under Henry III and Edward I. And sitting on Rochester’s bustling High Street is Rochester »

clockwise from ABOVE LEFT: Dickens World at the Historic Dockyard takes visitors on an interactive tour of Dickensian England. The Fuse Medway Festival celebrates music, visual art and performance. Rochester Cathedral is one of Medway’s main attractions.


[ visitor economy ]

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“The Resolute desk, in the Oval Office of the White House, was built at the dockyard with timber salvaged from HMS Resolute”

Historic Dockyard, Chatham Located within an hour’s drive of London, Dover and the Channel Tunnel, Chatham’s Historic Dockyard, owned by the trust of the same name, is an award-winning, maritime heritage destination, and the world’s most complete example of a historic dockyard from the age of sail. The dockyards have played a pivotal role in supporting the British navy for over 400 years, from the Spanish Armada to the Falklands Crisis. Notable vessels built at the dockyards include HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar. The Resolute desk, in the Oval Office of the White House, was built at the dockyard with timber salvaged from HMS Resolute – and has been used by most US presidents since it was presented by Queen Victoria in 1880. Research undertaken in 2012 underlined the huge impact of the dockyard on the local economy. The report, commissioned by the council, and carried out by DC Research, found that the dockyard supports over 500 jobs and brings £16 million into the Kent and Medway economy each year, with further growth expected. The Historic Dockyard’s plans for future growth are focused on its “Command of the Oceans” project. There is currently no central point of arrival at the dockyards, and the project will lead to a new visitor entrance as well as a free-to-enter discovery centre to promote the area’s naval and military heritage. A network of discovery trails will also be created, which will link each of the key sites of the dockyard. The remains of the Namur warship were found beneath the floor of the Wheelwrights’ Shop in 1995, and in 2013 a successful bid was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £4.53 million for the conservation of the historic ship. This project is due to be completed in spring 2016,


[ visitor economy ] »

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Cathedral, England’s second oldest cathedral, which dates back to 640AD and features a piece of work by Sergei Fyodorov, the first real fresco to be created in an English cathedral for 800 years. In addition to the centuries-old visitor attractions, Medway also hosts annual events that celebrate the area’s past and present. Woollard notes that Dickens events have proved to be particularly popular, referring to the Dickens Summer Festival, which takes place in June, and the Dickensian Christmas Festival in the first week of December. Other festivals hosted by the council include the Will Adams Festival in Gillingham, a celebration of Japanese culture and Tudor times dedicated to English Samurai, Will Adams, who was born in Gillingham in 1564, and went on to set up the first trading link between Japan and Britain. Also popular is the Sweeps Festival, in which local chimney sweeps, Morris dancers and folk groups converge on Rochester High Street in May, and the Fuse Medway Festival, a free event in June, which is described as a celebration of arts and creativity. Art aficionados can also enjoy the Medway Open Studios and Arts Festival, which takes place in July. And for those in search of a more permanent display of contemporary work, the Rochester Art Gallery and Craft Case, situated in the Medway Visitor Information Centre, provides a continuously changing programme of art and craft exhibitions by local, as well as national and international artists. By displaying an array of “challenging, contemporary visual arts” the gallery aims to promote the region’s reputation as being at the cutting edge of current work. Nucleus Arts, which has been part of Kent’s cultural and creative life for 12 years, also has sites in both Rochester and Chatham, and features events and exhibitions throughout the year. Woollard explains that the council has big plans for Rochester and its surroundings for 2015. Notable among these is the 800-year anniversary of

the signing of the Magna Carta. Also in June 1215 was one of Rochester Castle’s bloodiest sieges, led by King John, who had gathered an army to regain control of England. 2017 is also the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Chatham; a successful Dutch attack dating from 1667 on much of the naval fleet at anchor in the dockyards of the main naval base at Chatham, during the second Anglo-Dutch war. The Dutch victory is one of the worst defeats suffered by the Royal Navy. A Huguenot Heritage Centre is also due to open in Rochester in summer 2015, following the allocation of a grant of £1.2 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The centre will be dedicated to the story of the Huguenots and their integration into British society. M

clockwise from TOP: Medway hosts over 30 days of free events and festivals every year. LEFT: Aerial theatre as part of the Fuse Medway Festival.

“The council has big plans for Rochester. Notable among these is the 800-year anniversary of ... the Magna Carta”


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clockwise from above: The Rochester Farmers’ Market brings together the best of local produce.

Food glorious food The Medway area is rich in culinary delights – from weekly farmers’ mwarkets selling locally sourced produce to restaurants that cater for every possible taste. James Wood explores the region

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s day breaks on the third Sunday of every month, Medway’s master producers gather their wares and bring them down to the leafy Corporation Street car park for the Rochester Farmers’ Market. Established in summer 2000, this is the place where the region’s culinary capabilities are on full display: farmers exhibit their homegrown vegetables and locally reared meat, the smell of the Norse baker’s bread draughts through the early morning crowd and the call of the fishmonger, known to all as “Steve The Fish”, offers punters a fresh catch from the nearby estuaries. “The Fish” jokes about how the


[ hedonism ]

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nickname has become so common in the community, that locals ran into difficulty when trying to vote for his speciality store in Rainham – The Mobile Fresh Fish And Farm Shop – in the Taste of Kent 2014 finals. Nevertheless, Steve The Fish walked away with the top prize of Fishmonger Of The Year, presented to him during a black-tie dinner at the Kent County Showground. His shop offers not just fish of various varieties, but fruit and vegetables, award-winning cheeses, chutneys and preserves. At the same awards in March, the Rochester Farmers’ Market was named as one of Kent’s top three food markets and is nominated again for the 2015

awards. It hosts 31 stalls mostly made up of producers from the Medway towns, and includes the award-winning Margate Smokehouse and Twisted 7 Sauces. Footfall can range from anywhere between 600 and 1,800 people. It is the locals who make the market come alive, according to Steve The Fish: “One of the great things about the farmers’ market is the fact that it is very well supported by the local community.” Resident chefs and local bakeries offer free cookery lessons to visitors on market day, sourcing products brought along by local farmers. This is designed to inspire visitors to try something new, explains continued overleaf

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Medway’s town centre and markets manager, Annette Lebreton, who is also a board member for the farmers’ market. “People might look at a celeriac and think ‘what am I supposed to with that?’” she says. “And having pheasant and game at the market is all very well, but what is going to make people want to take something like that home to cook? By showing local people how to make the best use of the produce for sale at the market, we are able to maximise the value of what’s on offer there.” October saw staff from Bruno’s Bakes, the cake and coffee shop on Rochester High Street demonstrate how to make the best use of pumpkins – cooking up

“By showing local people how to make the best use of the produce for sale at the market, we are able to maximise the value of what’s on offer there”

everything from gratin to soups and pies. Another chef involved goes by the nickname of “Sparky” – a man whose culinary career has taken him to India, Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, Morocco, Spain, Italy and France. Tasting, cooking and learning along the way, Sparky has taken his skills to the markets of Medway. Drawing on 15 years’ experience in professional kitchens, he created the Source to Sauce business, offering people services such as the “combined cooking lesson and dinner party” and butchery training. At the Rochester Farmers’ Market, Sparky creates recipes on the spot for the enjoyment of curious locals, teaching them


[ hedonism ]

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new tricks with more unusual ingredients. Recent recipes conjured up by Sparky using produce he sourced on market day included braised roast pheasant with bacon and sprout tops, pork leg steak with kale, onion, carrot and Cox’s pippin apple, and pan-fried cod with cockles, samphire and parsley butter. Rochester has a long history of importing excellent produce. Part of the town was once known as the Chatham Intra where warehouses were built to hold goods for the navy’s ships. Supplies came down the River Medway by barge to arrive at the warehouses, and were then rowed to ships at anchor in Chatham Reach. Eventually, naval stores moved into the rebuilt and extended Chatham Dockyard. Today, in a rapidly developing area, many artisan gems are being established in the area. Rochester’s restaurant scene is international, vivid and varied. Meze is a staple of Middle Eastern, Turkish and Moroccan cuisine and is becoming an increasingly popular culinary choice across the UK. Café Moroc’s success demonstates the popularity of north African cuisine in Medway. Opinions about the quality of this “Moroccan gem” are almost unanimously positive: it was rated number one out of 103 restaurants

in Rochester, as reviewed on TripAdvisor. The cafe offers up a daily selection of 20 dishes, including goats cheese rolled in walnuts, spicy aubergine and tomato salad, hummus, artichoke salad, spicy lamb meatballs, a “floral” orange and carrot salad, grilled sardines with Ras El Hanout (‘top of the shop’ – a blend of the best of everything, which can include up to 30 spices) and eggs with anchovies and lemongrass. Such a varied menu, no doubt, contributed to the cafe receiving TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2014. Family run eateries add to Rochester’s strong community ties. Elizabeth’s – in a 16th century Tudor building, which was restored in 1992 – is one such example. Based on Rochester High Street, its focus is on French and Italian cuisine, and its a la carte menu offers frogs legs, partridge breasts and chateaubriand steak. The same high street also features British restaurant, Topes, which sources its ingredients from local farmers and distributors, and is named in the top 10 places to eat in Rochester on TripAdvisor. Rich in history as well as its culinary delights, the George Vaults has a striking interior, with a vaulted crypt that dates back to 1325AD. As well as being used for private hire and weddings, the Vaults has

Above left and right: Café Moroc serves an award-winning selection of freshly prepared meze dishes. left and below: Bruno’s Bakes and Coffee in Rochester offers classic French and modern American cakes.

four bars, and an outside walled courtyard, where customers can wine and dine while enjoying the Kent sunshine. The Vaults is also renowned for its live music nights. Tourists looking to quench their thirst and relax after a hard day’s sightseeing, can head to the Britannia Bar Café, which is located near several local attractions, including Rochester’s cathedral and castle, the Dickens Centre, Chatham Historic Dockyard and Fort Amherst. For those in search of a taste of south-east Asia, the acclaimed Thai Four Two is a particularly popular choice, and if you’re in search of something slightly spicier there is always the Naj, which is located at the Hoo Peninsula, and serves a selection of Indian dishes. Rochester’s Don Vincenzo is another popular choice for its selection of traditional Italian dishes. And the journey around the culinary world doesn’t stop in Rochester. Set in a 17th century building, The Barn in Rainham prides itself on its Michelin listing, and was, in addition, awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor. The restaurant serves traditional recipes with a modern twist; “bringing old dishes into the 21st century”. continued overleaf

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[ hedonism ]

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Clockwise from Above left: Set over three floors, the George Vaults prides itself on its rich history, and is available for private hire.

Chatham also boasts restaurants that cater to most tastes. Selale serves Turkish and Greek cuisine and Gurkhas Brother a mix of Nepalese and Indian. The town’s international reputation is further boosted by the pan-global restaurant, Cosmo, which serves a buffet of food from all over the world, including Chinese, Italian, Indian, Korean, Mexican, Singaporean, Malaysian, Thai and Japanese. For something more straightforward, Zippers bar and restaurant is a short walk from the Dickens World tourist attraction at Chatham Docks, and serves burgers, nachos and ribs – ideal for those who have built up an appetite learning about the literary great.

So a range of restaurants to suit even the most discerning of palates – but for those with more of a longing for the warm glow of a traditional English pub and a humble pint, the Coopers Arms boasts a charming beer garden, serves a range of real ales and cask beers, hosts quiz nights and puts on live music. Built during the reign of Richard I (1189-1199), the first recorded inhabitants of the house were monks from the nearby St Andrew’s Priory who were renowned for brewing ales and wine. After falling into disrepair during the dissolution of the monasteries, The Coopers Arms finally opened its doors as a tavern in 1543 and has been serving cask beers ever since.

During the spring bank holiday weekend in May 2014, Medway’s residents were given a taste of just how much the area’s food and drink sector has blossomed, at the first ever Chatham Maritime Food and Drink Festival. Residents from the surrounding towns cycled and strolled in the sunshine through Rochester and Chatham high streets, past the marina and along the river to enjoy a three day festival featuring locally produced foods and drink, around 25 to 30 vintage stalls, music and entertainment such as a Dunkirk Little Ships boat race organised by Medway Sunlight Rotary. The festival was organised by Chatham Maritime Trust in

partnership with Made By Us Events and plans are already in motion for the next event during the same weekend in 2015. Dean Marsh, the contract, procurement and facilities manager for the Chatham Maritime Trust, said: “Despite the rain, on the Sunday alone we attracted around 6,500 people this year. There was a real mixture of people from the Medway towns and beyond.” With a thriving market, a brand new food and drink festival and a diverse selection of cafes and restaurants, visitors flock to Medway. Their enjoyment of the area’s desirable assets retains and creates jobs, providing a vital boost to the local economy, M


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medway on the map

Strood Riverside page 27

Rochester Riverside

Projects under way across Medway: what is planned and what has been delivered

page 28

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It could all go wrong

Temple Waterfront page 25

Empire Reach page 25

London


[ site map ]

St Mary’s Island

Chatham Waters

Lodge Hill

page 29

page 27

page 26

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Victory Pier page 24

Medway

Rail station improvements page 28


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Victory Pier

Work is well under way on the mixed-use development at Victory Pier, by Berkeley Homes (West London). The 80-bed Premier Inn hotel is currently under construction and due for completion in February 2015, the Boardwalk residential block is sold out and due to be complete in mid-2015, and a Tesco Express store opened in September this year. The site also has a Subway, Domino’s Pizza and a

newly opened bistro. Residents of the waterside development will also benefit from large landscaped gardens with water features. A range of 141 residential units will complete the project. The Boardwalk will contain 71 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, while the neighbouring Peninsula will consist of two taller blocks (16 and 13-storey) offering suites, one and two-bedroom luxury apartments, due for completion by summer 2016.

The properties, which have received the Evening Standard’s ‘Best first-time buy’ award two years in a row (2013/14), are being released for sale in phases. There are still some units available in the Peninsula. The pier is home to a floating art gallery, the Light Vessel 21, and the historic paddle steamer Medway Queen, which is currently undergoing a comprehensive refurbishment project, is also moored here.


[ projects ]

Temple Waterfront

Lafarge Tarmac, alongside joint owners Medway Council and Morgan and Company, are progressing their plans to bring forward development of Temple Waterfront. Outline planning permission was granted by Medway Council in 2011 and designs for new access from Roman Way are currently being prepared.

Subject to planning consent, Lafarge Tarmac intends to deliver a new highway access ramp in 2015. This will enable development of the site to proceed. The £100 million scheme on the 28-ha site will deliver up to 620 homes and 12,300sq m of mixed-use employment and retail space, securing up to 250 jobs including the continuation

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of the Morgan Timber business, which will undergo a reconfiguration. The proposals include shops, community facilities and improvements to public transport, which will serve the site. The plans for Temple Waterfront also include improvements to the open space and riverside public realm, as well as protection of wildlife habitats in the area.

Empire Reach, Chatham Riverside

Work has started on Golding Homes’ first development in Chatham. Foundations are currently being put in place and it is hoped the project will complete by March 2015. Empire Reach will offer waterfront apartments, with private balconies or terraces with river views, available for affordable rent and shared ownership. The five-storey block will contain 40 one and two-bedroom units, secure underground parking and storage facilities for bikes. Nineteen of the apartments will be for affordable rent and 21 for shared ownership. The Golding Homes development is being delivered in partnership with Chartway Group, the Homes and Communities Agency and the support of Medway Council. Roger Ford, chair of Golding Homes, said: “This is our first development in Medway. We are thrilled to be delivering new homes in an area where the council have such an exciting vision for the future”.

continued overleaf

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Lodge Hill

In September Land Securities received outline planning permission from Medway Council to develop the 283-ha site on the Hoo Peninsula with a view to creating a new community hub. The plans will now need to be considered by the secretary of state. The site, which was used by the military until recently, will be transformed over the course of 15-20 years to provide 5,000 new homes, three primary schools and one secondary school, a nursing home, two hotels, 42,000sq m of business floor space, a healthcare centre, food store and shops. A range of different housing options will be built; just under 25% of it will

be affordable, with retirement housing also proposed. Job creation is an important element of the vision for Lodge Hill. It is hoped the project will help to strengthen Medway’s economic offer and reinforce the Hoo Peninsula’s status as an economic destination, particularly within the south-east. Over half of the site has been allocated as open green space, to be created through parkland, community gardens, allotments and woodland. A section of the site within Chattenden Woods has been designated as a site of special scientific interest, as it is home to breeding nightingales and other wildlife.


[ projects ]

Chatham Waters

Work has started on Peel’s development of the 10.5-ha site at Chatham Waters. The piling is underway on the university technical college (UTC) and work has started on an access road and the new 6,809.8sq m ASDA store, as well as on environmental improvements that will transform the area and open up the river to the community. It is hoped the ASDA superstore and filling station, which could create 450 jobs, will be completed by autumn 2015 and the £11 million UTC building is

Strood Riverside

Funding has now been secured for the flood defence work at Strood Riverside, due to start in late 2015. The £4 million from the Treasury’s public works loan board funding is to be used to deliver a new river wall and

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expected to open by September 2015. The UTC will be fully contained within the new four-storey building. Its principal, Dr Karon Buck, is looking forward to the move: “As our building is in phase one of the masterplan our students will see the development happening around them. I’m really proud our school will be the first part of the regeneration of a historic area.” The £30 million project, which is due to be completed within approximately eight years, will include 950 residential units, seven office

buildings, retail units, exhibition and events space, as well as a civic square and parkland boulevard. Detailed plans are currently being prepared for phase two of the scheme, which includes the residential aspect of the development, to be submitted in 2015. James Whittaker, development director at Peel, said: “Chatham Waters is one of the largest regeneration projects in Medway, and will have a significant impact on the local economy. It is expected to employ 3,000 people.”

other flood mitigation measures. Long-term aims for the 4.45-ha site are for a new waterfront community. Land assembly has been undertaken by the council to ensure it has sole ownership of the site, as it was previously owned by various

freeholders. Investigation works determined that flood defence and mitigation measures are required to bring the site to market and enable development. This is a priority regeneration scheme for Medway, as part of its 20-year waterfront development programme. Strood Riverside will eventually offer 500-600 new homes, alongside new leisure facilities, public spaces, community support facilities and improvement to the train station. The council has devised a development brief and is currently considering options for bringing the site to market, which it hopes will happen in 2015/16. continued overleaf »


Rail station improvements

Medway’s £40 million funding from government for rail improvements is already transforming the area’s transport systems. The money has been earmarked for a new station at Rochester, an extra platform at Rainham station and a £2 million investment to extend platforms at Strood station. Network Rail’s £26 million Rochester station is being built 500 metres from the existing station to ensure there is no disruption to travel during the

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Rochester Riverside

The transformation of Rochester Riverside, a 32-ha brownfield site, is already well under way. The site will continue to be developed over the next 15 years to create 1,500 high quality residential units, a riverside walkway, primary school, leisure facilities, office space, shops and restaurants. The council, together with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), funded site assembly, flood defences, remediation and engineering works to enable the comprehensive redevelopment of the site. The next phase of residential development will be the creation of Bellway Homes’ Stanley Wharf. Work on the 74 new homes, comprising three and four-bedroom courtyard style properties with roof terraces and a block of apartments with balconies, will start in early 2015 – depending on planning approvals. Later phases of the scheme will focus on the mixed-use development of the Station Quarter, to the north of the site, located around the new rail station.

Development has so far focused on the Southern Gateway where 73 new homes were delivered in 2013 in partnership with Hyde Housing. Major infrastructure improvements, which included the construction of the Doust Way link road, the Southern Gateway Public Square and improvements to the Bath Hard Lane ‘gateway’ were also completed. The houses are now fully occupied and the public square has opened. In March 2014 the council received £200,000 of funding to transform the redundant rail arches at Bath Hard Lane into creative workspace units for local businesses and startups. Refurbishment of the arches will take place towards the end of 2014, with businesses moving in during 2015. The council has also been awarded £4.4 million of Growing Places loan funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. The funding will finance key infrastructure works in 2015, which will include constructing a main spine road through the site and a new car park adjacent to the station.

construction period. The new station will have three longer platforms, to accommodate 12-car trains. Previously the station could only take 10-car trains. As well as being fully accessible it will have better facilities for passengers and offer cycle racks. Due for completion by the end of 2015 the integrated transport hub will house connecting buses and a £1.8 million pedestrian subway leading to the Rochester Riverside housing development and a 250-space car park. Due to the growing number of


[ projects ] it grows with future demand.” As part of Network Rail’s plans, a new platform is also being installed at Rainham station and a longer platform at Strood station. Two new lifts and an adjoining footbridge have also been put in place at Strood station in line with the government’s Access for All scheme. Completed in September 2014 the £2 million improvements, delivered by Network Rail, mean the station is now fully accessible to anyone with a wheelchair, pushchair or a suitcase.

St Mary’s Island

The development of St Mary’s Island by Chatham Maritime is a long running joint venture between HCA and Countryside Properties. The regeneration of the island has created 1,319 dwellings as well as a primary school, doctor’s surgery and pharmacy, community centre and 8.1ha of open space. Countryside Properties is currently developing the final phase of its Fishing Village scheme on St Mary’s Island, which consists of 27 apartments and 15 houses and is due for completion by mid-2015. Following on from this, work will start on their next scheme, Azure. The development of this 7.3-ha site will proceed in three phases. Work will start on Parklands, the first phase, in March or April 2015 and it will consist of 54 three, four and five-bedroom houses. Azure will eventually be home to a total of 339 residential units (167 houses and 172 apartments) including 62 within an extra care block for older residents, as well as a proposed restaurant, hairdressers, nursery and cafe. It is forecast that the site will be completed by 2020 with Parklands being finished by mid-2017. Iain McPherson, director of Countryside Maritime, said: “St Mary’s Island is one of our grandest schemes to date ... We have seen tremendous success from our previous phases, our current phase at The Fishing Village has seen the most benefit from the Help to Buy scheme. At Azure, we are thrilled to be bringing properties to the market, the majority of which will benefit from great views over either new parkland or water in the form of the River Medway, dry dock and marina.”

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people moving to Rochester’s new residential areas, a 30% rise in rail travel is projected in the coming years. A new station that accommodates longer trains will allow more people to travel on this stretch of line. Robin Cooper, director of regeneration, community and culture at Medway Council, said: “The number of rail passengers is forecast to grow significantly and freeing up this space for a new station will not only improve the service for commuters and other passengers, but will also ensure that


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Past meets present Rochester High Street attracts visitors from near and far in search of quirky goods. Suruchi Sharma reports on a town that boasts a cluster of thriving independent stores

I

t’s not often anyone would think of where Charles Dickens shopped for a loaf of bread, but the most likely destination was probably Baggins Book Bazaar, the largest second-hand bookshop in the country. “Back in Dickens’ day this shop was a bakery – no doubt he bought a loaf in here,” says Baggins Book Bazaar’s manager Godfrey George. Baggins opened in Rochester High Street in 1986 and to this day has visitors seeking out the popular wordsmith’s famous literature. “In those days we made his bread and nowadays, he makes ours,” quips George. “His works are always in demand.”


[ retail]

Above: Rochester High Street is a popular shopping destination. left: Baggins Book Bazaar, the largest second-hand bookshop in the country.

continued overleaf

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Rochester was known as one of Dickens’ favourite destinations and is minutes from his former country home Gads Hill Place, in the village of Higham. Since the height of Dickens’ career in the mid-1800s the town of Rochester, a setting used for many of his major novels, including The Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations, has been a huge pull for tourists. It has two annual Dickens festivals, with a particularly thriving one at Christmas featuring a lamp light procession through the streets, which George says is “very good for the local economy.” In addition, the council is now running a Dickens Country bus that takes in the best of Dickens’ haunts every weekend until Christmas. Rochester High Street is a rare gem of a road that is filled with quirky, independent retailers that know their demographic and products inside out. The area is a hive of shopping activity throughout the year. “Rochester is predominantly full of small independent shops and eateries,” adds George. “Baggins works well here as it’s unusual and appeals to both residents and tourists.” The bookshop specialises in subjects such as natural history, fine art and fiction, and enjoys a broad customer base including children, adults and out-of-town visitors from London, the south-east and further afield. George thinks the town’s “tourist cluster” helps with footfall; Rochester Castle and Cathedral, both popular attractions, are within walking distance. He is confident that even the advent of digital readers, book apps and online stores will not alter the dynamic of the shop as patrons remain loyal. “People are still buying books,” he explains. “The perceived threat to the book trade from the likes of Amazon has been made too much of; many of our books are more reasonably priced and you can’t browse properly online.” In an age when high streets across the country are being criticised for their lack of novelty it is refreshing to come across a town that offers a twist on the typical


Left and below: Demelza Boutique is one of the many independent retailers on Rochester High Street. centre and below: Chatham’s Dockside Outlet Centre.

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charity store. Demelza Boutique has been based in Rochester High Street for almost three years, selling vintage and retro products in support of a children’s hospice of the same name. Although Demelza has 20 stores across the south-east and London, the Rochester branch is unique in its products and clearly aware of the draw of shoppers to the town’s independent stores and history. Volunteers diligently pick the vintage stock and regularly refresh displays so as to entice customers inside with a range of clothing, shoes, handbags, scarves and, on the odd occasion, wedding dresses. Manager Michelle Holliday, who has worked at the shop since it opened, believes its success is partly due to the “big vintage and retro community” based in the area, from the students at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA)

Chatham shopping History can be a town’s most attractive feature and Chatham is thriving due to its magnificent historical dock area. Dating back more than 400 years it’s not an exaggeration to say that this is one of the world’s most important maritime heritage destinations. Based here is the Dockside Outlet Centre, which is home to over 30 leading retailers, as well as restaurants and children’s areas. Around a mile away from the dock, consumers can find plenty of shopping opportunities on the town’s pedestrianised High Street, with department stores including Debenhams, Boots and TK Maxx. At the heart of the town is the Pentagon Shopping Centre with shops, cafes, entertainment and leisure facilities such as a bowling alley, fitness centre and play area. As an added benefit the shopping centre is within walking distance of the town’s train and bus station. Robin Cooper is director of regeneration, community and culture at Medway Council and believes Chatham is the ideal destination for shoppers in this part of the south-east. He says: “The mixture of independent local traders and larger chain brands brings great variety to the area. The combination of high street shops and indoor shopping at the Pentagon Shopping Centre is also a draw, allowing shoppers to browse come rain or shine.”


[ retail]

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to the town’s Vintage Society. Holliday says she encounters a variety of patrons coming through the door ranging from French students searching for Union Jack gifts to Londoners opting for cheaper price tags than the vintage offerings in places such as Shoreditch and Greenwich. She adds: “I absolutely love my job and the shop. I have quite a different set of volunteers to most charity shops. A lot of them are young and they come in because they know the subject. We try and provide great customer service and they do a really good job. We always get nice comments from visitors about how lovely the shop is.” Dedication to the art of sales is something that Sue Hyland also took up when she opened Pastures New in 1985. The Rochester resident successfully runs the two halves of her business – beautifully hand-painted furniture coupled with a cook shop – saying she couldn’t imagine setting up business elsewhere. “Rochester is lovely and probably the best place in Medway for shopping. I think if you sell specialist items and you’re different from everywhere else then you do well. It’s a case of buying well and making sure you’re getting what nobody else has – it’s as simple as that. I bought the shop building when I came here and I wouldn’t go anywhere else now.” Terence Collingwood has been running the popular I Dig Dinos shop for six years and moved to Rochester High Street around three years ago. The shop, similar to the rest of the High Street, offers something very distinctive by specialising in fossils, minerals and dinosaur toys, with Collingwood encountering eager customers from across the country as well as mainland Europe. He says: “I think the uniqueness of the shop means people are willing to travel to see what I have, including a father and daughter travelling from Antwerp recently just to get a shark tooth. The history in the area suits what I do and the demographic is about right with visitors seeking that history. I think the High Street is fairly unique and our shop fits in very well. Visitors to the High Street come to look for something unusual, not mainstream gifts, and many of the shops here fill that position.” With a real sense of its history, Rochester is a great example of how a town can thrive on retail individuality, with businesses being run for profit but also the love of retail. No doubt Dickens would still be impressed by the charm radiating from this successful shopping hub. M


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[ music ]

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Going underground Medway bands developed a musical heritage that has endured. James Wood explores Medway’s role in punk, indie and garage rock from the 1970s to the present day

Above: Singer, painter and writer, Billy Childish, from Chatham, in his heyday.

P

unk music exploded into the public consciousness in the late 1970s, pioneered by the three-chord, DIY approach to songwriting that has been a staple for guitar bands at various points during the last 50 years of popular music. At that time, in a supposedly sleepy corner of south-east England, amplifiers were being cranked up in bars and clubs across the Thames Estuary towns. These vibrations created the Medway Delta Sound – a tag coined by the Chatham singer, painter and writer, Billy Childish – and likely to have been a wry nod to Mississippi blues music born on the banks of the great river. Childish’s bands came to characterise this style, which gave birth to the garage rock movement – a no-holds-barred approach to songwriting of brazen power chords and bellowed vocals heard in the output of his acts, including Thee Milkshakes, Thee Mighty Caesars, The Del

Monas and Thee Headcoats. It’s a style that would later be alluded to by a variety of bands, from Blur to The Strokes. Many of Childish’s acts were signed to the indie, punk and garage rock label Damaged Goods, which is still in existence today. Set up in 1977 to reissue punk vinyl, the label put out its first original record in 1991 – the debut single by Billy Childish and Thee Headcoats. An all-girl group, Thee Headcoatees, also came to be a big part of the scene, led by sometime Headcoats collaborator, Holly Golightly, who is still releasing records on Damaged Goods today. The scene rolled out through Medway in the eighties and many bands achieved success. The Prisoners, who met at a Rochester school, played venues throughout the region for the best part of two years, before being picked up on by the kingpin of indie music, John Peel, who would help the band gain wider appeal by giving them airplay on his Radio 1 evening

show. The band’s style would develop through the decade and two members would go on to enjoy further acclaim with jazz funk outfit, The James Taylor Quartet. But it is the cult and legacy of Childish himself that has had the most longevity and spread far and wide. Name-checked by artists throughout the 1990s such as Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Graham Coxon of Blur, and Kylie Minogue, it was Jack White of The White Stripes who would take the reference one step further by having Billy Childish scrawled in biro across his arm during an early band appearance on Top Of The Pops. In the early part of the 21st century, bands such as The White Stripes, The Strokes and The Libertines formed part of the scene’s revival. They hailed from both sides of the Atlantic, and it was perhaps not a coincidence that when garage rock once again began to fill the pages of the NME, it was an underground continued overleaf

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clockwise from left: The Mystery Jets, Billy Childish in Thee Milkshakes and The Spartan Dreggs (middle), Holly Golightly, and The James Taylor Quartet.

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“A picture of Doherty and his band mate Carl Barratt taken at the Tap’n’Tin gig would be used for the cover of the band’s ... final album” Medway venue which was at the forefront. Queues still stretch down Railway Street for the intimate Tap’n’Tin music club in Chatham, which hosted performances from many bands of the era, and made its name in 2003 when The Libertines reunited, one month after Pete Doherty, the band’s singer and guitarist, was released from prison. Around 200 people packed in to witness the “freedom gig”, during which The Libertines were joined on stage by cockney duo Chas n’ Dave. A picture of Doherty and his band mate Carl Barratt taken at the Tap‘n’Tin gig would be used for the cover of the band’s self-titled second and final album. Other acts to have played at the iconic club include The Charlatans and The Mystery Jets. Festivals to have taken place there include “Kimbofest”, which showcased local bands, and The Love Music Hate Racism event, which featured acts performing a variety of musical styles including indie, African drumming,

hip-hop, reggae and psychedelic. Live music remains prominent in the Medway towns. At the Beacon Court Tavern in Gillingham, tribute acts are all the rage: October 2014 saw such performers as Oasish, Stereotonics, Whole Lotta DC and the (snappily named) Red Hot Chili Peppers World Tribute Band take to the stage. Back in Chatham, The Britannia Theatre has billed bands of yesteryear such as Hawkwind and Bad Manners, sandwiched between pantomimes and displays from former contestants of TV reality shows. Elsewhere, the Eagle Tavern in Rochester hosts popular Sunday night jazz sessions with performances from well-established acts. At Coopers, the student bar in Chatham, the Music Society puts on open mic and acoustic nights and the occasional “rockaoke” (karaoke with a rock band), which are well-liked by students from campuses around the area’s several universities. Better-kept

secrets are the gigs at Poco Loco, where local bands play to packed crowds in a small room at the back of a Mexican restaurant in Chatham. The spirit of garage rock music is still alive in Medway, and judging by past reprisals, the question is ‘when’ and not ‘if’ the influence of the Medway Delta Sound will once again be felt across the Thames Estuary. Throughout the history

of guitar music, there have been times when the essence has been stripped to its bare elements, leading to an emerging underground music scene, often localised in one area, but attracting interest from further afield. For as long as the formula continues to be followed, the inspiration that bands take from Medway’s music of the 1980s is set to endure. M


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[ hotels ]

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Hot bed With an abundance of accomodation to suit every budget and taste, Medway’s shortage of hotels is but a dim and distant memory. David Harris explores a region with a thriving hospitality sector

M

edway towns have a lot of history to recommend them. Rochester, Gillingham, Chatham and Strood are all evocative names in England’s past. Think of Dickens in Rochester, the naval dockyard in Chatham, the headquarters of the Royal Engineers in Gillingham. Even further back, the Romans made sure the famous road of Watling Street ran through here. Looking back at this rich history it’s easy to see why this ancient corner of England has appealed to visitors over the ages. Medway has been an important area for not hundreds, but thousands of years. The long association of Charles Dickens with the area began after his family moved to a small house in Chatham. Today, anyone with even a passing interest in Dickens will find the

area littered with plaques giving details of the author’s personal connections with the area, as well as how various sites were incorporated in his novels. They can also follow a self-guided walking trail and visit Dickens World at Chatham Dockyard. If any more persuasion were needed that the area is worth visiting then the Norman Rochester Castle and the Elizabethan Upnor Castle should provide it. That’s before you start thinking about events, with most months including one festival or another. Among the highlights are the English Festival in February, the Sweeps Festival in May and Medway Council’s summer music festival. Concerts in Rochester Castle occur regularly. Medway Council’s efforts at building up the area economically have made it a continued overleaf

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clockwise from top left: From period properties to the sleek and modern – Medway’s hotels cater to all.


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“The number of hotels we have now is a clear indication of how vibrant Medway has become, both for tourists and businesses”

hub of business as well as tourism. One consequence of this, in the not so distant past, was a shortage of hotels. Robin Cooper, the council’s director of regeneration, community and culture explains: “About 15 years ago the council identified a terrible shortage of hotels – it was really holding the area back – it’s something that we’ve tackled head-on.” He adds that the council went out of its way to attract new hotels to the area. “There has been a steady recognition that this is a good place to have a hotel. The number of hotels we have now is a clear indication of how vibrant Medway has become, both for tourists and businesses.” Hotel construction continues to the present day. A new Premier Inn started construction in September at Berkeley Homes’ Victory Pier development in

Gillingham, and Cooper says that more hotels will be needed. “The offer here is already unbelievable but because this is a growing market we are going to need more,” he explains. “The council is being proactive, and the market recognises that Medway is expanding.” The Premier Inn at Victory Pier is indicative of a very active sector. The hotel sits alongside a big residential development of 750 apartments, more than 300 of which are already built and occupied, as well as a new hall of residence for students based in Medway. Matthew Biddle, managing director of Berkeley Homes, says that the hotel is “an important element of the entire scheme”. Guests the hotel is likely to attract include leisure and business visitors as well as the parents of students who need

somewhere to stay when they come to see their children. “There is a strong demand for hotels in Medway,” explains Biddle. “It’s true that many have been built but trying to find a room here is still not always easy.” John Bates, head of acquisitions in the provinces for Premier Inn’s owner, Whitbread, says: “Our new hotel is a vote of confidence in the local economy and represents a £6 million investment.” Construction of the Premier Inn is expected to complete by summer 2015. It will be the latest of a selection of hotels that have come to Medway in recent years. They include the Ramada Encore, alongside Chatham Dockyard; the Holiday Inn Rochester - Chatham; the Bridgewood Manor in Chatham; the Inn on the Lake – set in 4.86ha of woodland; the Ship and


[ hotels ]

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clockwise from far LEFT: The Bridgewood Manor and the Ramada Encore (bottom right), both in Chatham, are just two of a number of recent additions to the Medway hotels sector.

Trades in Chatham, among others. National and international brands sit alongside family hotels, such as the St George in Chatham, which has 45 bedrooms and rates starting at £40 a night. Built 40 years ago by the family that own it, the hotel has a long history of friendly and personal service. In Gillingham there is the King Charles Hotel, which is similarly priced but bigger at 98 bedrooms. Like many of the hotels in Medway it attracts both leisure and business guests, particularly as it is close to both Gillingham Business Park and Medway City Estate. The big brands on show include the Ramada Encore Chatham, another 90-bedroom hotel, which is within walking distance of the town’s historic dockyard continued overleaf

Âť


clockwise from LEFT: Medway Little Townhouse; Bridgewood Manor (front and back); dining at King Charles Hotel; and conference facilities at Inn on the Lake.

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“The council is being proactive, and the market recognises that Medway is expanding” and the Dickens World visitor complex. Even bigger, although with the same £40 per night starting point for rates, is the 149-bedroom Holiday Inn RochesterChatham. It too is close to the dockyard and Dickens World, as well as being suitable for business visitors. The hotel’s public rooms have space for up to 100 conference delegates. Exhibitions at Kent County Showground at Detling can be reached in 20 minutes from the hotel. For those seeking views of the water, the 80-bedroom Inn on the Lake might appeal. Set in several hectares of woodland, the hotel offers stunning views over two lakes with many rooms having direct access to the water. Another hotel in a picturesque setting is the four-star Bridgewood Manor with 100 bedrooms and rates starting at

£70 per night. It is designed around an inner courtyard where visitors and guests can sit in summer and enjoy a drink. In winter, the inside of the hotel has various open fireplaces.The hotel boasts a leisure club and spa, as well as its own gourmet restaurant, Squires. And if a bed and breakfast is more your style, there is plenty of choice in that category too. Medway Little Townhouse, just a few minutes walk from Rochester High Street, is in a quiet spot with views of the river. Free parking and Wi-Fi mean it is a favoured choice of both leisure and business visitors. Other B&Bs close to Rochester include Chestnuts, The Sundial and, with just one bedroom, The Cottage. All these and many others can be seen on visitmedway.org under accommodation. M


Providing property & development advice throughout

Medway and beyond for over 30 years

www.harrisons-surveyors.com or call 01634 265900


Medway by numbers

The Heritage Lottery Fund has confirmed a grant to set up the Huguenot Heritage Centre in Rochester worth £1.2 million

A snapshot of Medway's population, economy and rich cultural heritage, in facts and figures

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78%

106,209 Rochester Castle is one of the best preserved and finest examples of Norman architecture in England

Almost four in every five households have one or more cars or vans

The number of households occupied in 2011 (Source: 2011 Census)

£4.53m The grant received by The Historic Dockyard Chatham from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support its £8.75 million Command of the Oceans project

£3.55 MILLION


[ markets]

Number of businesses in Medway in 2013

Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest cathedral in England, and has been a place of worship for over

Over the last five years Medway has seen a 1.4% increase in businesses against a national increase of 0.9%

Medway hosts over

30 DAYS of free festivals and events – more than anywhere else in the south-east

1,400 years Construction Medway’s largest sector accounts for one-fifth of businesses – higher than levels in the southeast (13%) and Great Britain (12%) The number of jobs in Medway increased in 2012 to 85,200 (Source: Medway Council website)

Works on Rochester Cathedral’s Hidden Treasures, Fresh Expressions project will soon be under way thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund bid of £3.55 million in 2013, and other contributions totalling over £1 million

47

medway 1

6,480


Kingsnorth Commercial Park Medway, Kent (M2 J1)

Over 2 million sq ft of prime industrial/distribution space on 115 acres, including detailed planning consent for a single unit of 1,225,000 sq ft.

J28

A12

A12 Brentwood

A127

Romford

Basildon

J29

Ilford

M25

A127

A13

SouthendOn-Sea

A13 London City Airport

River Thames Estuary

J30

Grays A1089

J31

Woolwich

J1A

Dartford

A2

A228

Gravesend Grav Gra

J2

A20

London Thamesport

Ebbsfleet Intl. Rail Station

J1B

A289

A2

M25

J2

J3/1

A21

M26 J5

Sevenoaks

J2A

J4

J3

A229 J5

Maidstone

A25

J4

J3

A228 J2

M25

Gillingham Chatham

M2

M20

J4

Kingsnorth

J1

J5

A249 J7

ME3 9ND J8

A26 A21

A228

A229

To M2 (J1) & M25 (J2)

4

M20

+ Detailed permission for a single unit + of 1,225,000 sq ft + Strategic location with direct access + to Junction 1 of the M2 + 17 miles to Junction 2 of the M25 + Readily available and skilled labour force + + B1 / B2 / B8 planning consent + + 10MVA electricity supply

Completed infrastructure works provide improved access from the A228 Established developer with unrivalled track record Freehold or leasehold units from 30,000 sq ft, plots for sale from 2 acres Completed on site infrastructure and level serviced plots

6/7 5

8/9/10/11

2 1

On-site infrastructure complete

Paul Farrow paul.farrow@cbre.com

James Haestier james.haestier@colliers.com

Sam Smith samantha.smith@cbre.com

Len Rosso len.rosso@colliers.com

Mark Coxon mcoxon@caxtons.com

1000 acres+

19 million sq ft+

good to go+

competitive+

An available land bank at prime distribution locations

Capacity for delivering bespoke developments from 25,000 - 1,225,000 sq ft

ÂŁ130 million invested in site infrastructure works

Our global scale allows us to offer unrivalled terms

kingsnorthcommercialpark.com goodman.com/uklogistics

Developing Customer Solutions


[ training and skills ]

A recipe for success medway 1

49

Above: Chefs in the making – students training at MidKent College’s kitchen facility.

With Medway’s graduates reaching dizzying professional heights – including working at London’s tallest skyscraper The Shard – Lucy Purdy considers how the region’s educational innovation is helping students to forge successful careers

M

edway has a highly skilled workforce, and this applies with competent, gleamingly professional accuracy to its hospitality industry. Hotel and catering training is taken seriously in Medway, with a wealth of committed, young people, eager to make the most of what the local colleges and universities have to offer. When it comes to the restaurant industry, add into the mix an abundance of high-quality fresh ingredients, all at the fingertips of ambitious students. This

is Kent – the Garden of England – where low levels of rainfall and a mild climate have joined forces in building an enviable food heritage. Take the case of nearby Faversham; Brogdale Farm has a living gene bank of more than 4,000 varieties of apples, pears, plums, cherries, cobnuts, currants and quinces. And foodies will be familiar with such delights as Dover sole, just one of the varieties of fish and shellfish caught along Kent’s 350-mile coast. In testament to this, the Medway campus of MidKent College has its very

own restaurant, which Rochester-based CC Studio Architects have been drafted in to bring right up to date. After all, this is a place designed to inspire and motivate a passion for food. The new two-floored commercial area is set to be ready by the end of November and features a bespoke restaurant and kitchen alongside a hair, beauty and nail salon, as well as a travel agent. The kitchen kit is currently being put together in Germany, and will include a full induction system, with no gas at all, to

continued overleaf

»


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reflect the most modern way of cooking. Students are trained in front of house, barista and bar work as well as learning how to conjure up extravagant dishes within the kitchen itself. Ordering ingredients, stock control and rotation are also on the syllabus and both the restaurant and salons will have the most up-to-date purchasing software, giving students the opportunity to learn from the get-go about sales, finance and the overall running of a business. This is a place designed to create well-rounded, capable and confident restaurateurs and chefs.

In the restaurant, excellent food is a priority, and this includes seasonality and provenance. Thomas Ferguson, head chef, says: “We’re really excited to be working with local Kent companies to produce our new menus. It will be a fantastic opportunity to evolve the menus throughout the year.” Ferguson adds that the menus will be created in a modern English style, with dishes changing seasonally to make the most of the produce available. All food and drink will be sourced locally from Kent. The formula seems to be a winning

left and below: Students at MidKent College will benefit from a £2 million investment in facilities, including the restaurant, restyled by CC Studio Architects. centre and top right: Students studying for the University of Kent‘s Event and Experience Design degree.

“These facilities will allow our students to develop the higher level skills that will give them the best chance of employment”

one. Students from MidKent College have gone on to positions at The Grove in Hertfordshire and The Swan in Southwark, as well as The Shard, using their skills high up in the London sky. Simon Cook, acting principal at the college, explains why the investment makes sense. “We are investing £2 million to ensure students who work within service sector areas of the college develop the right skills of confidence, attitude and business awareness by working in a high quality and busy employment setting located

conveniently on the campus,” he says. “These facilities will allow our students to develop the higher level skills that will give them the best chance of employment, once they have completed their courses with us. Equally important will be how this employment setting will help add extra value to our local employers who work closely with us.” In a similar vein of adaptation and innovation, students on the Event and Experience Design degree programme at the University of Kent are being equipped with skills for the burgeoning creative


[training and skills ]

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51

events industry. Training includes how to create events and experience for entertainment, commercial, heritage, tourism and hospitality environments – an expanding field. Paul Gambrill is one of the associate lecturers and a designer who has crafted brand experiences, events and ‘digital journeys’ for the likes of Sony, Nike and British Airways. He is also a design consultant for the Imperial War Museum and the Churchill Museum, and is “constantly exploring” ways of developing partnerships with industry, through project bursaries and creative industries apprenticeships. Those at the University of Greenwich have also made great use of industry expertise when designing their degrees in Hospitality Management and Tourism Management. Both programmes have been developing to meet a real-life demand for entrepreneurial, creative and strategic managers. Hospitality students will graduate with skills in marketing, human resources, revenue management, technology and event management, while those on the tourism degree can expect to come away with problem-solving skills applicable to the global tourism industry. In the UK, tourism represents 9.6% of total employment and is worth £127 billion a year to the economy. Students are supported in hunting down exciting and useful work experience placements too. The University’s Tourism, Transport and Travel programme was ranked first in London by the Guardian University League table, 2013. This is not about beguiling course descriptions and buzzwords, but true industry knowledge, high graduate employment rates and real – really worthwhile – skills on which careers can be built. Evidence, indeed, that Medway is a smarter place to train. M


Awarded 5 stars for customer satisfaction

Bellway. Building better communities. Building better lives. Quality, service and trust are the foundations of our business. So if you’re looking for a new home in or around the Medway area, then you can rely on Bellway.

Call: 01737 644911 Hundreds of homes. One address. www.bellway.co.uk/southeast Picture of existing Bellway development.


[ made in medway]

Responsibly yours Morgan Timber prides itself on the quality of its customer service and the sustainability of its products. Lucy Purdy reports on a thriving Medway business with a national profile

medway 1

53

M

organ Timber is a stalwart of Medway’s business community. Supplying timber in the area for over 100 years, and from their current riverside location since 1923, the company was started by brothers Arthur and Samuel Morgan, who produced fencing from local chestnut coppice. Things have changed greatly since that time; today Morgan Timber offers a vast array of timbers and services but remains a family business, something Robert Morgan believes creates a good ethos. “I’m very proud to be a part of the third generation in the business,” he says. “I hope it will continue. We have a good

working relationship with both our staff and shareholders. We communicate really well and we understand each other, and the direct family connection pulls everything together.” Having branched out from its early beginnings in fencing, Morgan Timber now supplies timber for bespoke joinery and construction. Morgan lists staircases, handrails, picture rails, counter tops and decking among the more common uses of its timber, alongside oak beams and some heavy structural timber for marine work. He said: “We take about 50 orders a day and they nearly all have some special element to them. People come to us with a pattern or drawing and we match

the profile to order. We aim to provide a flexible and fast turnaround.” As well as good service, customers can also be sure they are getting responsibly sourced timber, as Morgan has long had a strong policy on this. In 2004 it became the first company to be simultaneously awarded Forest Stewardship Council, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification and Forest Products Chain of Custody by BM TRADA, and much of the timber now supplied is environmentally certified. The company is also one of the founder signatories of the Timber Trade Federation’s Responsible Purchasing Policy. “The environmental aspect is

very important to us,” Morgan explains. “Timber is by definition the most sustainable and best joinery material. It is essentially renewable as long as you do it properly. In the last 20 or 30 years a lot of the problems of deforestation have been addressed. We were involved very early on in the process.” He continues: “If we all do it properly we can protect future timber supplies. You’ve got to look at the whole life cycle of the wood, which absorbs CO2 and stores carbon as it grows and when you’ve finished with it you can chip it, reuse or recycle it. It’s a great product!” And the environmental standards don’t just apply to the timber. Since 2010 the continued overleaf

»


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»

company’s electricity has come from 100% renewable sources and they have recently installed a biomass heating plant, something Morgan is particularly pleased about: “It absolutely fits together with our product. Timber is very sustainable; it’s good to find new uses for it from within the business. We’ve always recycled our sawdust but now we’re burning it to produce heat for the workshops, which has greatly reduced the amount of oil and energy used. It’s great.” Morgan Timber has made its name through good quality stock and service, but high-profile builds also help. The business recently showed how keen it is to get involved in unusual jobs when it donated all the timber for a shed built to specification for fashion designer Sir Paul Smith. As part of Sir Terence Conran’s Wish List project, he requested a garden shed to relax in. Morgan describes it as a “really nice project” and explains the company advised and discussed timber options with the shed designer and hit upon thermally modified ash for durability, dark colour and good grain pattern. The 3m x 3m shed, made from American ash, was displayed in the courtyard of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as part of the London Design Festival. Another big project to feature Morgan Timber supplied product is Watermark Place in London. The huge, fresh sawn, French oak pieces of seven and eight metres in length, take centre stage in the building design, harking back to the maritime heritage of the site on the banks of the River Thames. Morgan comments: “It was difficult timber to obtain, the long length made it hard to find, but we like a challenge. Doing the unusual is what we’re good at; we love it.”

“We’ve always recycled our sawdust but now we’re burning it to produce heat for the workshops”

Medway has a certain charm that wins it a special place in the hearts of local residents. “It’s a good place to be,” explains Morgan. “There is a huge amount of fantastic industrial heritage in Medway. A lot of it’s gone now, sadly, but it’s in the history and the people. Many interesting things have happened here. “It was a terrible blow when the dockyard closed, but we’re very enterprising people. Our traditional employers may have gone but an opportunity was seen and taken

advantage of. The development of the riverside has led to a rediscovery of the river, which is at the heart of Medway. “Medway is good for business, there are lots of small businesses located here and the local workforce is very willing. Added to this, the infrastructure is well developed here. “People are discovering Medway now; it’s a nice place with good transport connections, near to the M2 and M25, and you can get to London quickly. It would be hard to find somewhere better.” M

TOP LEFT: Morgan Timber supplied the timber used at Watermark Place, London EC4. TOP RIGHT: The company prides itself on sourcing sustainable products. ABOVE: The shed made for British fashion designer, Sir Paul Smith.


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. • • • • •

Luxury Waterside Living The Peninsula is a collection of suites, 1 & 2 bedroom apartments overlooking the marina at Victory Pier in Gillingham. Prices from £152,500 Tel no. 01634 786 968 Sales & Marketing Suite open daily from 11am to 6pm Pearl Lane (off Pier Road), Gillingham, Kent ME7 1FA

www.victorypier.co.uk

Proud to be a member of the Berkeley Group of companies Computer generated image and is indicative only. Price correct at time of going to press and subject to availability.

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


medway 1

issue 7 2014 medway making history

medway making history

COUNTRYSIDE. THE EXPERTS IN BUILDING PLACES PEOPLE LOVE.

Our superb developments in Medway have a signature style and character designed to work for the way people live today. The RIBA Housing Design Award winner Horsted Park in Chatham, and St. Mary’s Island, Chatham Maritime – Britain’s only planned new island community – exemplify our commitment to design and creating beautifully crafted landscapes, building lasting value for all.

FIND US ON:

Information correct at the time of going to print. October 2014.

2014

Find out more at placespeoplelove.co.uk

7

Time travels Historic past to vibrant future Medway Delta Sound Setting the music scene Made in Medway Sustainable trade in timber Making headway Development opportunties abound

Medway1 #7  

News and developments from Medway.

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