Home   Medway   News   Article

University of Kent’s plans to transform former police station at Chatham Historic Dockyard into creative hub called Docking Station

Plans to transform a historic police station into a 21st-century multi-million-pound creative hub have moved a step closer.

To be known as The Docking Station, the University of Kent aims to create a high-quality international digital centre at the Grade II-listed Police Section House at Chatham Historic Dockyard.

How The Docking Station will lookcredit University of Kent
How The Docking Station will lookcredit University of Kent

It would provide working space for graduates, shared workspace for academic and non-academic staff, artists and technology experts as well as teaching space and training, studio and performance spaces with an interactive gallery area.

Already more than 100 architecture firms have expressed an interest in the £15 million design project for the flagship building, which, if approved, due to open in 2025.

Planning documents estimate it could generate £16 million for the local economy over a 10-year period and create nearly 60 jo

A virtual production studio would house a state-of-the-art stage, advanced camera tracking technology and LED wall.

An exhibition space will focus on creative industries, including art and design, computing and the digital sector.

A cafe alongside will be open to students, staff and the general public and it is hoped local schools and groups will get involved in projects at the 166-year-old, building which is owned by Homes England and is just minutes away from the university’s Medway campus.

The former police station is set to be transformed
The former police station is set to be transformed

The project is to be financed thanks to a £5.6 million share of Medway’s Levelling Up cash, secured from the government, as well as £3.5 million to come from each The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Further funding has been requested from the Wolfson Foundation and Collyer Fergusson Foundation, which planning documents say the team is “confident” will be secured.

The university has submitted a planning application to Medway council to partially demolish the building and add a single-storey extension.

Prof Catherine Richardson, director of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries, said: “Creative industries are so important for our region – this sector is outgrowing and generating large numbers of jobs, and it has such a strong impact on educational attainment, health and wellbeing.

“We also know how significant creative work is to the pride we feel in our communities, and for all these reasons it's at the centre of the University of Kent’s commitment to its civic mission.

The old police station at Chatham Dockyard. Picture: FCB Studios
The old police station at Chatham Dockyard. Picture: FCB Studios

“The Docking Station project will transform the listed building into a unique creative facility.

“It is a vital piece of that work – we’re delighted to be able to take it to the next stage.”

Planning documents added: “The Docking Station will give the University of Kent Medway campus a distinctive identity and direct connection with creative digital industries – a relevant and attractive offer to prospective students in an exciting and innovative space.”

The university is working with partners Medway Council, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and its Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries department in developing new creative space for Medway.

Since the dockyard closed in 1984, the three-storey property has undergone some refurbishment and has been used by various companies for office space.

It is now described as vacant and in a state of disrepair.

“The Docking Station project will transform the listed building into a unique creative facility...”

It was built in 1857 to replace the previous police station, which was demolished to make way for the expansion of the dockyard.

The university is tasked with regeneration plans for the last remaining undeveloped part of the former dockyard site.

It is also teaming up with Creative Estuary which is overseeing a £6.5 million facelift of the Thames Estuary as Europe’s largest creative corridor encompassing, Medway, Gravesham, and Dartford.

It will look to repurpose disused areas and the north Kent and south Essex coasts, supporting more than 400 new jobs and delivering new skills, qualifications and apprenticeships for 300 people.

Elsewhere, Medway council has been trying to attract high tech, engineering and manufacturing jobs to its £14.5 million Innovation Park next to Rochester Airport.

The first tenants signed up this year and it will eventually host 30 plots for businesses, as the Towns continue to try to reinvent themselves. It is hoped the development will generate 3,000 jobs.

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