Published: 15:36, 19 July 2021
| Updated: 15:38, 19 July 2021
A major town centre regeneration scheme is nearing the next step of development as the first crane moved in to start building work.
The Chatham Waterfront scheme, led by Medway Council, has nearly had its groundworks completed.
Preparations to begin the construction phase of the 175-home development and public space on the banks of the River Medway are on course to start.
The project is being carried out by Medway Development Company (MDC), the council-owned development company, and the first homes are due to go on sale in 2022.
It will also see space for restaurants and cafes with new parkland established between the river and Chatham bus station.
Underground obstruction clearance, installing utility services, access road constructions and foundations have been taking place and almost finished, the council said.
Medway Council leader Cllr Alan Jarrett (Con) said: "I am pleased that the work is making good progress, the new homes at Chatham Waterfront will be surrounded by excellent public transport links providing a fantastic location for residents and commuters.
"This development, which is being delivered by our own housing company, also supports our work to bring people back into our town centres.
"Chatham has seen vast improvements over the years, helping the historic town to thrive, and we are committed to providing people with more things to do across Medway to build a sustainable future.”
The project will see five new buildings along Globe Lane and eventually it will connect up with the council's plans to overhaul Mountbatten House.
That scheme was approved in May for 164-homes in the disused 12-storey office block and will also be developed by MDC.
Meanwhile, a public art commission for one of the buildings on the waterfront site has been launched by MDC.
The pumping station located on the river bank is undergoing refurbishment as part of the regeneration scheme.
MDC says it hopes the artwork commissioned will complement the restored building alongside the new plaza.
Artists have been asked to come up with designs to explore how the "building and new public space interact with each other and the wider waterfront scheme".
The brief sets out ambitions for "an architectural and engineering approach" and must include nods to the area's history which could include the Old Brook Pumping Station, Royal Engineers and Historic Dockyard.
Community groups will form an advisory board representing residents, businesses and people visiting Medway to help interview and select artists' final designs.
Expressions of interest from artists must be submitted by midday on August 16 with work expected to begin next year.
Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council portfolio holder for community services, said: “I am pleased that MDC is encouraging local creatives to share their ideas for a new piece of public art which will be displayed on Chatham Waterfront Pumping Station.
"Medway is home to a number of talented artists and I would encourage residents to come forward and express their interest.
"The commission supports Medway’s thriving cultural scene as well as the area’s aspiration to become UK City of Culture in 2025. I look forward to seeing the designs and watching the works progress.”
For more information, artists can email public art consultants FrancisKnight which is running the commission for MDC on email@example.com