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Queenborough and Rushenden regeneration given £3.5 million boost

By John Nurden

Sheppey has been given £3.5 million by the government to speed up the regeneration of Queenborough and Rushenden.
The cash is earmarked for roads, cycle paths, flood defences and land remediation work to make it easier for developers to build homes on the old factory sites of Canning Town Glassworks and the potteries.
Work has already begun on the first phase of the development, which overlooks the Swale, after years of delays while the ground was cleared of contamination and raised to make it safe from flooding.

A digger helps with piling work on the Rushenden site
A digger helps with piling work on the Rushenden site

The extra money, part of an £866 million injection in housing projects on brownfield sites, is expected to deliver 210 homes on the Island by 2022 and 990 homes in total.

A new school and “marine-related activities” are also planned. The original scheme included a marina.

The development next to First Avenue is near to Queenborough train station and already has road links to Morrisons’ retail park at Neats Court and direct access to the A249 and M2 making it ideal for commuters.

Artist's impression of how the 102 houses on the Keepmoat site at Rushenden will look.
Artist's impression of how the 102 houses on the Keepmoat site at Rushenden will look.
The plan of the Keepmoat estate at Rushenden
The plan of the Keepmoat estate at Rushenden

Sheppey and Sittingbourne MP Gordon Henderson said: “It is great news the Government is using its Marginal Viability Fund to provide funding to the Queenborough and Rushenden regeneration scheme.

“I want to see brownfield sites used for housing development rather than cement over more green spaces.

“This particular scheme has been on the table for years. Part of the site is already being built on. However, development of the rest of the site stalled because the cost of mitigating the land made it unattractive to developers.

Land in Rushenden Road earmarked for homes
Land in Rushenden Road earmarked for homes

“Working with Swale council, I lobbied successive housing ministers to get funds to ensure all of the site could be developed. I am delighted we were successful. Full development of the site will create another 200 homes by 2022 and almost 1,000 in total.”

The government wants 300,000 new houses a year by the mid-2020s to help people buy their own homes.

The boost was announced by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid on Thursday along with £15 million to help fund a “rapid bus transit scheme” at Dover’s White Cliffs Business Park and £2.5 million for improvements around the Manston Road and the Haine Roundabout in Thanet.

Work has already begun on the first 101 homes at Rushenden.

The funding will help pay for demolition works, site remediation, land-raising and drainage improvements on phase four.

Cllr Mike Cosgrove, cabinet member for regeneration at Swale council, said: “This is an important piece of the jigsaw for this regeneration scheme, and will prepare the ground for the much needed homes in what will be a vital phase of the scheme.

“By working with in partnership with Homes England and Kent County Council we are helping to turn this former industrial land into something with the potential to be of real value to the Isle of Sheppey and will help strengthen its growing reputation as place in which to invest.”

Nick Walkley, chief executive of Homes England, said: “Homes England will help ensure the investment is used as effectively as possible to ramp up the delivery of much-needed homes.

“We will offer experience in delivering complex housing schemes and project management skills to help ensure the new homes are built as quickly as possible and support ambitions for local growth.”

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