Unlocking its Potential
Transforming the industrial legacy
A generation ago, the decline and closure of many staple industries left North Kent with a legacy of unemployment, a damaged environment, worn out and inadequate infrastructure, below-average educational attainment and under-investment in skills - an area with few expectations.
By the turn of the 21st century the economy of North Kent was starting to recover, grow and diversify. Unemployment had greatly reduced and employment was growing in consumer-related sectors such as logistics and retail.
A Place of Opportunity
Today, North Kent has huge potential for economic growth. It is a great location with tremendous opportunities. It has superb assets and is well-placed to transform past legacies with its:
- Excellent location on strategic routes and with high-speed rail links to nearby major UK and European markets
- Close proximity to London
- Rapidly-developing infrastructure, diversifying commercial capacity,
- Many large tracts of 'brownfield' land
- Magnificent riverside locations, countryside and heritage assets
- New high-quality Higher education and Further Education facilities
- Good value business accommodation and housing
- Supportive public policy framework for development
The full scope of North Kent’s growing renaissance is now emerging - focussed in three locations that hold the key to unlocking its great potential.
Dartford and Gravesham:
The “Golden Triangle” of major sites, bounded by the M25, the A2 and the high-speed rail link between London and Europe, provides a tremendous opportunity for a new urban community linking the historic towns of Dartford and Gravesend.
Bluewater is already Britain’s most successful regional shopping centre. Nearby, the Ebbsfleet Valley is set to be a major economic driver for North Kent, with over 10,000 new homes and a major commercial centre planned around the new international and domestic station at Ebbsfleet.
Along a 15km stretch of the Thames riverside, a string of major developments - including The Bridge, with its science park and innovation hub and Northfleet Embankment - complement the continued town centre regeneration in Dartford and Gravesend.
The creation of a cohesive, modern waterfront city is fundamental to Medway’s future role as an international city of culture, tourism, learning and enterprise.
Chatham Centre and Waterfront with its maritime heritage, university campus and strategic location is set to be the heart of this resurgent city.
Medway Waterfront spans 11km from Strood to Gillingham, with superb riverside sites offering huge potential for high-quality residential, business and leisure developments.
The flagship mixed-use development of Rochester Riverside is set to create iconic new vistas. Residential development has already started and the site will be served by the new Rochester railway station opening in 2015. Important strides have also been made towards realising the potential of other key sites at Gillingham Waterfront, Strood Riverside and Centre, and at Temple Waterfront, with its superb views of Rochester's castle and cathedral.
In addition to the waterfront areas, the opportunities on the Isle of Grain, at Chattenden and at Kingsnorth will play a key role in the transformation of Medway.
The new Sheppey Crossing and related transport infrastructure form the backbone of Swale’s Axis of Opportunity, opening greatly improved access to strategic links for once remote communities.
Running along the A249 from Sheerness southwards via Queenborough and Rushenden to Sittingbourne and Kent Science Park, this corridor has huge economic growth potential. Testament to this is the recently announced intention by Vestas to transform Sheerness Port into becoming a major manufacturing hub for the offshire wind industry.
South of Sittingbourne, the Kent Science Park provides a focus for high-tech, fast-growth life science and ICT businesses for Thames Gateway Kent as a whole.
And with Sheppey’s maritime and aviation history, its creek-side towns surrounded by magnificent landscapes and wildlife, Swale’s potential as a gateway to heritage and eco-tourism in North Kent provides another dimension to the area’s rich tapestry.