Water taxis could soon be crossing the River Medway from Sun Pier, Chatham
Dreams of a water taxi fleet in
Medway have resurfaced after it was revealed Chatham's best-known
pier will finally be repaired.
The mooring pontoon at Sun Pier, a
stone's throw from the town centre, was damaged in a 2007 storm and
Now, finally, Medway Council has
pledged £180,000 to restore the pontoon and put 25 interpretation
boards along the river.
It will return Sun Pier to the
status of the only publicly-owned usable pier on the river.
Chiefs hope it will be ready in
time for the council's river festival in June and can be used for
private yachts, tourist boats and possibly a water taxi.
Plans have also been unveiled to
turn the next-door Sun Pier House into an arts centre by the
Gransden family of builders, who also own a popular century-old
River ward councillor Andrew
Mackness (Con), who sits on the Chatham Maritime Trust, said it was
"For opening up access to the river
we thought it was very important to regenerate Sun Pier," he
A number of private firms are
thought to be in talks with Medway Council about running a
potential water taxi service.
In theory it could stop at Strood,
Rochester, the Medway City Estate, Chatham Maritime and Gillingham
Pier - but would take a large injection of public money.
Cllr Mackness has already visited
Gosport in Hampshire to look at a similar scheme there.
He added: "We've got the
redevelopment of Upnor in the future and we need people to get to
the Medway City Estate so we want something people can use to get
to work as well as a leisure service.
"You're not going to be going at 30
knots down the river but you'll be going from A to B
The pier could also feature a cafe
or restaurant, say council chiefs.
Council leader Rodney Chambers
(Con) revealed the investment to a meeting of the Medway and Swale
Boating Association. He told members: "The river has played a key
part in the area’s history and should once again be at the very
heart of efforts to unlock Medway’s full potential."
The move would be difficult and has
failed in the past.
Chatham central councillor Julie
Shaw (Lab) told a meeting last year: "Talk about deja vu, I’ve
still got the information on this from 20 years ago.”
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