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Peel L&P unveil plans for Chatham Water development

It was always an ambitious project but work to transform part of Medway’s riverside is gradually taking shape, changing the skyline of that part of our Towns forever.

And this is only the beginning - the long-term dream is to open up much more of the River Medway’s waterfront.

Developers are looking to attract restaurants and shops to the development(16024849)
Developers are looking to attract restaurants and shops to the development(16024849)

Cafe culture, riverside promenades, shopping and learning all on your doorstep is all part of the plan.

Work is well under way at the Chatham Waters project, and land owners Peel L&P wants the development to be a first in a series to unlock disused dockyard land.

The £1 billion development will eventually have 950 apartments and will also feature retail and hospitality space.

The development began with the construction of the Asda superstore, which opened in 2015.

This was followed by the Waterfront University Technical College, which at the moment has around 200 students, and the Mast and Rigging pub.

The development will feature a water front boulevard(16024847)
The development will feature a water front boulevard(16024847)

The UTC specialises in engineering and construction and in the coming years, students are expected to be able to get some first-hand knowledge of the industry by visiting the site and getting some work experience.

The total for developing these facilities was £40 million, £5 million of which was spent on improving roads.

Now, two blocks, consisting of 199 apartments, are progressing after work began three months ago.

The development is being headed up by X1 Residential Property Developers.

The flats will be ready to move in to by September 2020, and 60 have already been sold.

James Whittaker, group development director from Peel. Picture: Ben Blackall (16024845)
James Whittaker, group development director from Peel. Picture: Ben Blackall (16024845)

Peel L&P’s construction contractor Russell Construction is also working to build 193 apartments for private rent on part of the 26-acre site.

The blocks will be managed by Long Harbour which also funded the construction.

At the base of the apartment blocks, there will be eight shops.

Peel L&P is hoping they will appeal to high-quality restaurants featuring al-fresco dining.

James Whittaker, the company’s group development director, said: “It’s quite unique; I am not aware of another private sector development in the country like this, and it will be a fantastic opportunity for Chatham Waters.”

An artist's impression of what the apartments at Chatham Waters will look like.(16024843)
An artist's impression of what the apartments at Chatham Waters will look like.(16024843)

The company also has plans for some affordable housing; as a requirement, 240 of the 950 apartments have to be affordable. Peel L&P is looking for a housing association to help deliver them.

Eventually, the whole development will be home to about 10,000 people.

“We are fully invested for the long term in delivering something that’s really going to put Medway on the map.”

It has also come up with ways to retain the site’s connection to the river, developing a £2 million waterfront boulevard running alongside the apartments.

But keeping links to the past is important too. Peel L&P is also in talks with the Medway Queen Preservation Society regarding plans to move the vessel from its home at Gillingham Pier to Chatham Waters. The aim is to transform the Second World War minesweeper into an attraction which will host events and teach people about its history.

James said: “We think it will be a nice local attraction, but also a tourist attraction.”

Chatham Waters is part of a number of regeneration projects Peel is involved with on brownfield land at docklands, canals and river banks across the country, backed by private investment.

Eventually, Peel L&P wants to unlock the land at Chatham Dockyard which it says the council has earmarked for mixed use as part of its Local Plan. It is hoping to connect six miles of waterfront development with other developments at Gillingham Pier and St Mary’s Island, and the upcoming developments at Rochester Riverside, Strood Waterfront and Chatham Waterfront.

James added: “We have every confidence in working with businesses and the local authority in building a very high-quality development, not only for the short term, but for the next 30 to 40 years.

“We are fully invested for the long term in delivering something that’s really going to put Medway on the map.”

Read more: All the latest news from Medway


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