Home   Medway   News   Article

Chatham Docks application shows detailed plans for development

Detailed plans have revealed the possible future for Chatham Docks.

P4 Planning, on behalf of Peel Waters, has submitted a planning application for a screening opinion about its proposal to redevelop the area, demolishing the current warehouses.

Chatham Docks and Chatham Waters are subject to plans for redevelopment by Peel L&P. Picture: Phil Drew
Chatham Docks and Chatham Waters are subject to plans for redevelopment by Peel L&P. Picture: Phil Drew

Drawings show the company wants to redesign the site, creating 19 units of varying sizes that it says will create a waterside business and enterprise campus.

The application, received on November 21, is a preliminary step where early proposals are evaluated to see if they are likely to have a significant environmental impact.

If it is decided they would, a full environmental impact assessment is needed for the idea to go any further.

The designs for Chatham Docks would see the existing warehouses demolished, new units constructed, and the creation of pedestrian and cycle paths along the waterside.

Peel Waters calls this area Basin 3 and has said the variety in unit sizes could attract a range of businesses, from small independents to large creatives.

Chatham Docks from above now
Chatham Docks from above now

The firm has already asked for public feedback on its vision for the Basin 3 part of the project.

The redevelopment of Chatham Docks has been controversial for many years. It led to Medway Council’s previous Conservative administration’s attempt to create a Local Plan falling apart, in part due to divisions within the group about this site.

Peel Waters, part of Peel L&P, presented an early masterplan for the land in December 2021 and a public exhibition of its initial designs was held in June last year.

In opposition to the plans is the Save Chatham Docks campaign which aims to keep the place as a working docks.

Labour and Conservative figures from Medway have supported this campaign, including current council leader Vince Maple (Lab) and Tory MP for Rochester and Strood Kelly Tolhurst.

However, recently the Labour group has been criticised for what has been perceived as wavering in its support for the docks, with the local Liberal Democrats suggesting a U-turn is imminent.

In a now-deleted post on X, formerly Twitter, the Medway Lib Dems posted a photo of Cllr Maple’s front window saying a poster for the Save Chatham Docks campaign had been removed.

After criticism from other users, including some councillors, the tweet was removed.

In a press release, the Medway Lib Dems said the application was an attempt to get approval for the redevelopment of a small area in order to open the door to wider work.

They also said the commercial dockyard represented millions of pounds for Medway’s economy and is an opportunity for the greening of infrastructure.

Some are fighting to keep Chatham Docks as a working dockyard
Some are fighting to keep Chatham Docks as a working dockyard

John Castle, Lib Dem spokesperson for St Mary’s Island, said: “We will continue to fight to keep docks open for the businesses there.

“However, I’m deeply concerned that this application, along with wavering support of the docks from the Labour administration, that we are sleepwalking into their closure.

“It doesn’t bode well that a Save Chatham Docks poster has recently been taken down from the window of the Labour council leader’s window.

“Medway Lib Dems will continue to fight to keep Chatham Docks open, and we urge Medway Labour to reaffirm their promise to keep our economically vital docks open.”

We contacted Medway Labour for a response but the group did not provide one in time for publication.

At a Medway Matters Q&A event on November 28, Cllr Maple was asked whether he would guarantee to uphold his promise to support the continuation of Chatham Docks as a working dockyard.

He said it was important to remember that Peel owned the land, but he was looking to work constructively with them and people who opposed redevelopment by getting in the room to reach a compromise.

He said that a date had not yet been set for the meeting but he expected it to happen in January next year.

The application is open for a standard consultation until December 7, with the aim for a decision to be made by December 12.

Comments about the application can be made on Medway Council’s planning portal or by emailing planning.representations@medway.gov.uk, citing the application number MC/23/2603.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More