Peel director sets out Chatham Waters vision
Thu 10 December 2015, 5:15 pm
Group development director of Peel, James Whittaker, outlined the company’s vision for one of its major regeneration schemes, Chatham Waters, at the launch of the ninth issue of Medway1 magazine on 8 December at BNP Paribas Real Estates’ City offices.
Peel acquired the 48.6-ha commercial port in Chatham Docks in 2005, when half the site was underutilised. The Chatham Waters mixed-use scheme comprises 10.5ha, and will create around 3000 jobs, explained Whittaker.
The site will feature up to 950 residential units, including student accommodation plus a 200-bed hotel and conference space. An Asda supermarket and the university technical college – Medway UTC – opened in September.
“The first phase has seen almost £40 million invested into this important regeneration project,” said Whittaker. “Phase one has significantly improved the local highway network with an investment of over £5 million by Peel for a new access junction at Gillingham Gate. Further improvements are also due at the Strand – the ground level has been raised in accordance with the flood risk strategy.”
Peel’s residential arm is currently drawing up plans for the first phase of development that will comprise around 200 homes. Whittaker explained that an institutional developer has been identified for the PRS development.
“The second phase of residential development has been offered to other residential developers. We had an open day just today, and eight or nine developers attended.
“Medway is clearly transforming itself,” Whittaker concluded. “We’ve worked in close partnership with Medway Council and will continue to do so.”
Councillor Alan Jarrett, leader of Medway Council added: “If Medway can attract companies of the strength of Peel, then quite clearly the opportunities are quite enormous. Medway has changed almost beyond recognition, and there are massive changes to follow.”
The Peel Group has net assets of £5 billion, embracing a broad range of sectors including Peel Ports, which handles over £70 million of cargo a year, as well as a stake in intu Properties, which owns shopping centres all over the UK with a total value of £8 billion. The property investment arm of the group is Peel Land and Property, comprising 1.2 million sq m of property, and 15,000ha of land.