Published: 07:30, 04 April 2018
| Updated: 07:41, 04 April 2018
By Nicola Jordan and Chris Hunter
Medway’s Innovation Park is set to welcome its first official resident - Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.
The charity, which has saved thousands of lives, will be returning to Rochester Airport after 18 years based in the Weald.
The purpose-built station is currently under construction on the airfield site and is due to open next month.
Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance (KSSAA) currently has around 30 staff based in Marden, all of whom will relocate to the new premises which has the capacity to accommodate up to 40 employees.
The trust is on the move to a new home because it has taken delivery of two new larger helicopters and has outgrown its existing helipad.
The innovation park, run by Medway Council, is one of three hubs which form the North Kent Enterprise Zone, aimed at attracting new business to this end of the county.
The other two are Ebbsfleet Garden City and Kent Medical Campus in Maidstone, with each one awarded enterprise zone status by the government in 2015.
It means that local authorities can offer heavily discounted business rates to companies operating in each area.
Medway Council leader Cllr Alan Jarrett visited the airport yesterday to see the work taking shape.
He said: “We welcome back Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance to Medway with open arms.
"The charity is in the midst of a significant phase of development and it’s vital that the infrastructure enables it to continue carrying out and improving its great work.
"It’s fantastic that Innovation Park Medway will enable them to achieve this.
“It is fitting that our first official resident is returning home to Rochester Airport – this is just the beginning of an incredibly exciting period of economic regeneration in Medway.”
KSSAA costs in excess of £6.5million each year and relies almost entirely on donations and fundraising.
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