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02 Dec 2019

Chatham Waters and Chatham Docks update: December 2019

For clarity, Peel L&P would like to outline the following facts linked to plans for Chatham Docks and the expiry of leases of industrial businesses based there including port operator, Peel Ports, in 2025:

  • Peel L&P owns the freehold of land at Chatham Docks which is currently occupied by industrial businesses, including Peel Ports, who manage the lock gates and port operations. The leases expire on, or before, 2025 and the occupiers have been aware of this date when they signed their leases.
  • Peel L&P will be working with Medway Council and businesses currently occupying Chatham Docks to find suitable relocation sites within Medway or in close proximity. There are a number of possible relocation sites within Medway and at the port facility in Sheerness.
  • The future operation of Chatham Docks port is becoming financially unviable and unsustainable due to the investment required in the infrastructure for the long-term. In the past 10 years, over £6 million has been invested in the infrastructure to refurbish the lock gates.
  • Peel L&P’s Chatham Docks industrial estate is indicated under the Medway Council Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SLAA) as a suitable site for mixed-use development to meet the housing and employment demand. The SLAA findings will be included in the council’s new draft local plan, set to be published in December 2019.
  • The first phase of the Chatham Waters development, being regenerated by Peel L&P with an investment over the last five years of approximately £50m, consists of 26 acres of brownfield land, that so far includes a new University Technical College (UTC), a large ASDA superstore, a Marston’s family restaurant and pub and extensive public realm.
  • Currently under construction are 400 homes for rent and private sale. The development to date has created over 500 full time jobs together with significant part-time construction jobs and a further 500 jobs are expected to be created once the whole consented scheme has been completed.
  • The remaining part of the Chatham Docks Estate, that equates to circa 75 acres, has the potential to create around 2,000 jobs, 4,000 residential homes of mixed tenure including affordable homes, plus mixed-use commercial opportunities to support Medway’s economic growth and leisure ambitions.
  • The potential regeneration of the remaining Estate supports the Government’s policies to build on “brownfield sites” first for new housing and employment, which would otherwise have to be provided by Green Belt land release.
  • As part of the proposals there will be a requirement for further infrastructure investment including transport, highways, public realm, education and health.

Paul Chappels, Senior Property Manager at Peel L&P said: “We have been open with the current occupiers at Chatham Docks and have been in talks for a number of months with regards to the closure of the docks ahead of the end of lease period in 2025. Our vision is to find suitable relocation sites for current businesses whilst regenerating key parts of brownfield land on River Medway.”

“As it stands, Chatham Docks is unsustainable due to the increasing cost of operating and managing the site long-term, post 2025.”

Daniel Everard, group director of D2 which encompasses D2 Electrical Ltd, D2 Maintenance Ltd and D2 Fire & Security Ltd said: “We are currently working with Peel L&P to review options to relocate our business from Chatham Docks. We are passionate about our working relationships and will continue to work in partnership with Peel L&P to embrace change and find a suitable new home for D2.”

Director of Development for Residential at Peel L&P, Neil Baumber added: “Having created 500 jobs to date from the first eight acres of development at Chatham Waters, our estimated figure of 2,000 jobs to be created from a further 75 acres of development is extremely realistic. We consider the development of Chatham Docks as key to opening-up the 26km Medway estuary, adding to the economic benefit of the town and benefitting local neighborhoods. Located just 40 minutes from central London, we also hope this picturesque location will attract a wide variety of new businesses, home buyers and occupiers from the local area and further afield.”

“We are committed to creating mixed-use sustainable communities to create housing and employment. We aim to bring and connect communities surrounding Chatham Docks together, reducing noise, smells and having a positive impact on the environment. We are also dedicated to creating a mix of housing tenures on this brownfield site including family homes, affordable housing and private rent as well as open market apartments plus waterfront dining, shopping and high-tech new office and conference suites.”