Published: 00:01, 20 April 2019
The process which will eventually see the former Civic Centre in Strood transformed into more than 550 new homes is set to get underway next month.
Medway Council’s cabinet agreed on Tuesday, April 9 to declare the site surplus ahead of launching what is likely to be a competitive procurement process.
Officers believe the development will deliver around 564 “premium” homes with “fantastic views of Rochester Castle and Rochester Cathedral and access to the River Medway".
Flood protection work, funded by the Local Growth Fund, is due to be completed this month and it is hoped the scheme will bring a significant benefit to Strood and the Towns as a whole.
Cllr Rodney Chambers (Con) – portfolio holder for inward investment, strategic regeneration and partnerships – said: “We always used to say the Rochester Riverside was our flagship site here for regeneration.
“Well, things are underway there now and the mantle of flagship regeneration site has now fallen to the Civic Centre site. It will add to the transformation that is occurring in Strood.”
The former Civic Centre forms part of the Strood Waterfront project, set to deliver up to 1,600 homes, but will be marketed separately from the rest of the scheme.
More than 40 developers expressed an interest in developing the site last July, and the council believes work could begin in March 2021 following the procurement and planning application processes.
Cllr Jane Chitty (Con) – portfolio holder for planning, economic growth and regulation – added: “The quality of the development has to be extraordinary – something very special to support the surroundings already there.”
There were laughs during the item when Cllr Rodney Chambers accidentally described Rochester Riverside and Strood Waterfront as “flags***e developments”.
Concluding, leader Cllr Alan Jarrett (Con) said: “It isn’t the quickest disposal route, but it’s the one we employed for Rochester Riverside and it served us well there.
“It’s not just about getting the right price, because it’s important to have the quality too. This is a very important site for us, and you can only develop it once so it’s absolutely right we get the best quality and price possible.”