Published: 00:01, 26 July 2014
The restoration of Northfleet Harbour has taken another step forward after a plot of land was secured to open up a visitor centre.
Work is being done to restore the site to its former glory, and it is hoped it could be home to hundreds of vessels as well as offering boat sales, repairs and a maritime leisure, sporting and heritage industry.
Conrad Broadley, trustee director of the Northfleet Harbour Restoration Trust, said: “The use of this land is very important as it gives the trust a much needed base on dry land and where it can show the archaeological finds and display the area’s history.
“Views from the visitor centre can be seen across the vast harbour and up the Thames to really give an idea of the opportunity for this community asset.”
The land was donated by Lafarge Tarmac, whose senior manager Jonathan Toyn said: “We are very pleased to assist the trust in its latest phase in restoration of the harbour at Northfleet and admire the dedicated work of all the team.”
Mr Broadley continued: “Not only does the trust want to record its huge thanks to Lafarge Tarmac for the use of the land, but it also wishes to recognise and thank others in the local business community who along with volunteers have really pulled out all the stops to help create a very attractive setting with some really creative landscaping.
"These being Harlex, Erith Enabling Specialists, Toppesfield, Mobile Mini and Watling Tyres.”
Harlex provided a digger and driver who levelled the landscape shaping it into three tiers as well as becoming accidental archaeologists exposing some rare early Victorian dock side rails and a small crane carriage.
Gravesend business Mobile Mini has donated the visitor centre while Northfleet’s Watling Tyres cleaned up the fly-tipped tyres that had been dumped on the site.
Erith Enabling Specialists provided several lorry loads of crushed aggregates and Toppesfield, based on the tip of the harbour, provided a roller to compress the aggregates to give a firm base to walk on.
John Mason, Northfleet Harbour Restoration Trust chairman, added: “It’s so encouraging to have local businesses coming forward to offer their services, with no thought of gain, to a project aimed to benefit the community. It’s an example to others and a way forward for our society”.
The trust’s next challenge is to plan for an open day so people can view the progress of the project and learn of the area’s rich heritage.
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