Plans to develop Innovation Park Medway, one of the three sites that make up the North Kent Enterprise Zone, have received a vote of confidence.
The Accountability Board of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the development of Innovation Park Medway and the continued operation of Rochester Airport.
Funding of £4.4m from the Local Growth Fund towards phase 1 of the redevelopment of the Rochester Airport site has been confirmed, following a change to the project scope presented by Medway Council.
Commenting on the decision, Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “Following extensive work by Medway Council, the owners of the Rochester Airport site, a solution has been identified to manage the increased cost of the project and SELEP has voiced its continued support for this important investment in Medway.
“The project’s outputs may have changed with the removal of the paved runway and one of the proposed hangars. However, the amended phase 1 project, will now make it possible to release land for the development of Innovation Park Medway, and enable the creation of more than 1,000 highly skilled jobs at the site.
“This funding support will enable the airport to continue operating and lay the foundations for the second phase by releasing 17 hectares of much-needed land for commercial development.
“The decision also supports the Government’s objectives for the three sites that make up the North Kent Enterprise Zone, which will create more than 9,000 jobs at Innovation Park Medway, Ebbsfleet and the Kent Medical Campus in Maidstone.”
The decision was welcomed by Medway Council, as the site is a key part of its economic vision for the area.
Cllr Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said: “I am delighted that we can move forward with our plans for Rochester Airport. This is a key step to deliver our new business park as part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone.
“Medway is fast becoming known as a hub for hi-tech engineering and creative businesses, and the plans we have for Rochester Airport will further support this work and our monumental regeneration programme. There are already more than 14,000 businesses in Medway and this number is constantly increasing. Businesses in Medway are keen to grow and we fully support them. We are committed to investing in Medway and providing growth for all our businesses, as well as our residents.”
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