Medway Council Area Report

Medway Council (UK) covers a total area of about 268 km², just 30 miles from the centre of London and 90 minutes from the Continent. Medway is one of the biggest and most significant urban areas in the south east outside London. It is also located in the Thames Gateway, the largest development project in Europe.

Much of this land is owned or overseen by the South-East England Development Agency [SEEDA], which supports regeneration activities in the form of funding, expertise, and political support. Although Medway is not a predominantly industrialised area, brownfields cover around 4.7% of the city’s total surface area and are mainly located along the riverside. The “Medway Waterfront” includes priority brownfield sites that have been promoted for more than five years.

The most important management issues on “Medway Waterfront” brownfield sites require ground remediation, flood protection and new infrastructure to facilitate a mixed use scheme and better integration. In addition, special design measures are required to maximise the waterside location and existing businesses need to be relocated. The overall aim of Medway Council’s regeneration policy is to create sustainable, integrated communities in high quality environments, utilising waterside locations and existing urban areas. To this end Medway created Medway Renaissance, a team within the Council, which is dedicated to this purpose. As a consequence, the REVIT investment project work focused on the revitalisation of Medway Waterfront sites, which have required an integrated remediation or flood protection activities and have included a high level of public / community involvement. Rochester Riverside brownfield site – Medway.

The REVIT project has provided Medway with the opportunity to adopt a new model approach to stakeholder engagement in respect of integrating the new Medway Waterfront development proposals with existing and emerging communities. In addition, new sustainable approaches to flood defence have been implemented; as well also, remediation of contaminated land has been tackled through an integrated and innovative approach, using a suite of the most appropriate methods including processing soil on site. Rochester Riverside is a flagship brownfield regeneration project in Medway, which forms part of the Thames Gateway growth area. The site comprises 30 hectares of land wholly owned by Medway Council and SEEDA. The site occupies a spur of reclaimed land on the southern bank of the River Medway and is bordered by the London to Dover railway line, which physically separates the site from the historic core of Rochester town centre.

The site was previously industrial and included large-scale industrial structures: three large gas-holders (formerly the town gas works) and various other industrial buildings. Results of the chemical testing of the site indicated the presence of elevated levels of potentially hazardous substances such as metal, hydrocarbons and ground gases within the madeground, and to an extent the ground water, across parts of the site and especially in the area of the gas works.