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HRH the Earl of Wessex visits Queenborough and Rushenden Regeneration Project

22 February 2008

His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex visited community facility The Gateway at Rushenden, Isle of Sheppey, on Wednesday 20th February where he got the opportunity to find out more about one of SEEDA's most prominent regeneration projects.

A masterplan for the Queenborough and Rushenden scheme has been formerly submitted to Swale Borough Council and a decision on adoption is expected later this Spring. This mixed-use scheme will see the comprehensive regeneration of an area which has been in economic decline since the 1960s, but with its seafaring past and new Sheppey Crossing bridge make it a prime area for regeneration.

During his visit to the Gateway, a former warehouse building which has been transformed into a community facility by SEEDA for short-term use while the regeneration project is being brought forward, Prince Edward got to meet members of the local community and find out their views about plans for the area. He also met local school children who have built a model of the area which shows how it will change over the coming years. Lee Amor, SEEDA Executive Director of Infrastructure and Development, was one of the welcoming party who met the Prince on his arrival at the site.

Nick Young, SEEDA Senior Development Executive, who met with the Prince, said: "We are delighted the Prince got the opportunity to visit the scheme and especially the time he took to speak to residents about their hopes for the future of the area. This has been an exemplar of how community engagement should be carried out and we are pleased local people got the opportunity to show their development to such an important visitor."

Mr Amor added: "It is a huge honour to have His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex visit our project this afternoon, particularly as we have reached such an exciting stage of the regeneration of Queenborough and Rushenden.

"After a huge amount of work between the partners and the community we have submitted a masterplan for the scheme which we believe takes on board the needs and aspirations of people already living in the area and the new residents who will be joining them in years to come.

"The masterplan looks at every aspect of the new development, from housing through to employment space, community facilities and the potential new marina. We have received tremendous support from the public, with thousands of suggestions being made on how to improve the scheme and make it work. We look forward to continue working with the community to deliver a truly sustainable regeneration project that residents will be proud to be part of."

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