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Further details about Chatham Maritime can be found here - www.chatham-maritime.co.uk.
Once the Navy had departed 140 hectares (350 acres) of the site, now known as Chatham Maritime, was transferred to English Estates and subsequently in 1986 to English Partnerships. The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) took over the programme of transforming this derelict dockyard into a vibrant new quarter in the Medway Towns in 1999.
Two decades after the closure of Chatham Dockyard, this area has been transformed into a thriving business and residential community, combining high-quality urban planning and design with the most stringent environmental and sustainability standards. SEEDA has succeeded in turning this site into a true mixed-use flagship development in the heart of the Thames Gateway, combining investment in business, leisure and residential facilities to deliver the local community a sustainable lifestyle.
To date in excess of £400 million of public and private funds have been spent on Chatham Maritime.
Developing new communities
The Northern part of Chatham Maritime is an island surrounded by the River Medway and a new marina. Approached across a lifting bridge the 100-acre St Mary's Island is a new residential community of 2000 homes. This building programme is being brought forward by Countryside Maritime Limited, a joint venture between SEEDA and developers Countryside Properties.
SEEDA's objective is to demonstrate the benefits of good quality design and sustainable construction while providing attractive and peaceful living space for local residents. As well as housing, SEEDA is providing all necessary infrastructure including a school, doctors' surgery, parkland, community centre and employment opportunities, all within walking distance of the island.
The island itself has been divided up into a handful of separate developments such as The Fishing Village, Ventura and Northshore. At the Fishing Village construction is now well under way at the site, which is located on the North East of the island overlooking Finsborough Ness. The development comprises over 150 dwellings in a modern interpretation of the Kentish vernacular. Most of the units in the Fishing Village have balconies and terraces enabling residents to take advantage of the outstanding views across the river.
The Fishing Village was designed by architects PCKO incorporating the very latest thinking in sustainable development, namely reduction of on-site wastage of materials and energy consumption of new homes, and increases in site and construction efficiency. Examples include the provision of rainwater points so that the water can be reused in the garden and the installation of solar panels to help reduce heating bills. The Fishing Village is the first large housing scheme to be awarded a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating of 'good' and has also received a number of prestigious design awards.
The latest development site under way is Northshore, designed to maximise natural light and minimise energy wastage. The homes are built from materials that are obtained where possible from sustainable sources.
A number of other features and amenities are being developed on the island and in the surrounding area to nurture the community. As well as the primary school, which has recently been expanded to take up to 400 children, notable additions include:
A number of key-worker/affordable houses pepperpotted across the development to allow a variety of different people the opportunity to live in a desirable area and participate in a growing community
Attracting jobs and enterprise to the area
At Chatham Maritime, SEEDA has created one of the premier business locations in Kent with 85,000m 2 of office space providing 3,500 new jobs. Companies that have already moved into Chatham Maritime, include Micro Medical, Natwest Bank Plc, Halifax Plc and Medway Council. Many other projects are under way with the aim of bringing jobs and world-class companies to the area.
One example of this work is the Dockside Outlet Centre, which opened in May 2003. The former Boiler Shop, a Grade II listed building, has been converted and extended to house over 80 shops selling speciality clothing, luggage and home furnishings from High Street names. 300 jobs have been created in the centre.
The presence in Chatham Maritime of Micro Medical, the world leader in cardiopulmonary medical electronic devices, and a winner of the Queen's Award for Export, has provided a valuable boost to employment in the local area and demonstrates that Chatham Maritime is an ideal location for market leading organisations. The new headquarters building officially opened in March 2004. At the time of the relocation announcement, Micro Medical's CEO, Danny Quirke, said, 'Chatham Maritime has the great advantage of good transport links, coupled with a pleasant working environment, making it the perfect place to locate a business such as ours.'
Kent County Constabulary has started the construction of a state-of-the-art Medway Area Headquarters Building on the Eastern side of Chatham Maritime. The Police selected construction firm VINCI Investments for this important contract, which is set for completion mid-2006.
mhs homes – Medway's largest independent landlord – is also constructing its new headquarters building at Chatham Maritime. The three-storey office building will have basement parking and is due for completion by Easter 2006. Most of mhs homes 420 staff will move to Chatham Maritime when the building is finished.
An important element in the development of Chatham Maritime is the provision of opportunities for employment for the local residents and the maximisation of their skills to meet a wide variety of available positions. A number of schemes are in progress in these areas, some of which involve upskilling and job matching.
Jobs Match Medway, set up early in 2003 by SEEDA, The Job Centre and Medway Council, pairs Medway residents with suitable full-time jobs made available by the arrival of these new employers, thereby boosting employment levels in the area. Key to the success of this programme is that the applicants will be trained in advance with the skills they will need to prosper in their chosen career. One of the first practical applications of this programme has been the 300 jobs created with the opening of the Dockside Outlet Centre. SEEDA is also working with the Vines Centre Trust and Jobcentre+ to set up an annual programme where 15 people over the age of 50 are given apprenticeships as part of the Vines CyberArk scheme. CyberArk recycles in the region of 2,000 PCs per annum, many of which are used in SEEDA's 'Get Wired for Free' programme which helps voluntary and community organisations to get online and participate in e-government.
Creating places at Chatham Maritime
Chatham Maritime's Success To Date
One of the key stages of the regeneration of Chatham Maritime is the restoration of a number of historic buildings, bringing them back in to economic use and creating a sense of place. The first such building to be restored was the redundant Ship and Trades Building, dating from 1875, and restored in 1999. This building has Grade II listed status, and was formerly the Joinery Office on site where woodwork was undertaken in the shipbuilding process. It now accommodates a public house, restaurant, small hotel and Co-Op convenience store, providing facilities to the local business community and nearby residents on St Mary's Island.
SEEDA has also completed the external restoration of The Canteen and the Drill Hall, two Grade II listed buildings designed in 1902 by Sir Henry Pilkington, in a free baroque style. The buildings, which cost around £5 million to restore, form part of an impressive complex of Edwardian buildings known as HMS Pembroke, the former Naval barracks. The Drill Hall is being turned into a new Learning Resource Centre to be used by the two universities established at Chatham Maritime, the University of Greenwich and the University of Kent, alongside Canterbury Christ Church University College, which has recently moved to a new building in Pembroke Court, opposite the existing university campus. The University College's first intake of students began their studies in September 2004 and it is investing more than £5 million in creating a state-of-the-art teaching and learning facility at the site. Mid Kent College will also join the campus in September 2005. The Canteen building is being converted to house a lecture theatre, teaching rooms, retail outlets and Student Union facilities. The overall expansion of these higher education institutions together will see student numbers at Chatham Maritime rise from 2,000 to 6,000 by the year 2007. SEEDA and the ODPM are supporting the Universities at Medway project with over £23m of funding, in what is one of the most significant elements of the whole regeneration and community programme for Chatham Maritime.
In and around theses historic buildings care is being taken to site contemporary buildings that complement their setting and to open up river walks ways and dock basins to the public that have been closed for 400 years.
A Sustainable Community
Chatham Maritime is about two-thirds complete. It demonstrates the time needed to bring a large and difficult regeneration project to a successful conclusion, and is an object lesson in creating a sustainable community. From a largely derelict and stranded site in the heart of an urban area of 250,000 people in the mid 1980s, it is now home to 5,000 people and provides about 3,500 jobs. It is now the home to three universities in one of the country's largest towns previously with no university provision. It has thriving leisure and retail facilities. Above all, it has succeeded in providing literally a new heart in the Medway Towns and a major contribution to the Thames Gateway.
Further details about Chatham Maritime can be found here - www.chatham-maritime.co.uk.