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Chatham Maritime 25 years of regeneration

2 April 2009
Chatham Maritime - Sadler and Beckett

Jonathan Sadler meets the Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP at Chatham Maritime.

Chatham Maritime - Sadler Cannonpresn

SEEDA is presented a replica cannon in recognition of its contribution to the regeneration of Chatham Maritime

On 1 April, representatives from SEEDA were invited by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust to join them in celebrating 25 years of regeneration since the dockyard closed on 31 March 1984. The 25 th birthday event, which included a 25-gun salute and the opening of a new exhibition by The Rt Hon Margaret Beckett, was attended by hundreds of VIP guests and members of the public. It also attracted significant media interest and was an opportunity for SEEDA to showcase its achievements at Chatham Maritime.

The dockyard’s demise left in its wake a derelict site, mass unemployment and a bleak future for people living in the Medway Towns, but since then, the 140-hectare site has been transformed into a thriving community where people live, work, study, and enjoy quality leisure time.

SEEDA took ownership of the site from its predecessors in 1999 and enabled over £150m funding from the public sector and a further £700m investment by the private sector. Jonathan Sadler, SEEDA Development Director for Thames Gateway, who led the project to realisation said, "The early vision for Chatham Maritime was to regenerate this once abandoned and derelict site at the heart of the Medway Towns as a premier business location and vibrant residential community as well as a centre for education. Working with our partners we have built new infrastructure, 1000 new homes and a million square feet of new office space, creating over 5000 jobs. The University of Greenwich, University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University and Mid Kent College have all established themselves at Chatham Maritime or close by, giving a bright new future to thousands of students.

"It’s also a great place to live or visit, with a range of leisure facilities including 20 acres of parkland and riverside walks, the 300-berth marina, the Dickens World visitor attraction, a multiplex cinema and a range of shops at the Dockside Outlet Centre. We are well on the way to delivering the vision and are very proud of our collective achievements."

"The dockyard closure was devastating, but over the years, particularly recently, the changes have been very positive. The area has a lot more to offer people now and, with its more diverse range of jobs, should be able to keep the local economy stronger in these difficult times."

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