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					                          MEDWAY COUNCIL

                                 CABINET

                               8 JULY 2003

                     GILLINGHAM WATERFRONT
Portfolio holders:   Councillor Jane Chitty, Planning and Economic
                     Development
                     Councillor Janice Bamber, Front Line Task Force
                     Councillor Alan Jarrett, Finance

Report from:         Richard Simmons, Director of Development and
                     Environment

Author:              Wendy Mesher, Principal Projects Development Officer

1.     Summary

1.1    The purpose of this report is to establish a way forward for the
       regeneration of the Gillingham Waterfront area, in particular the Akzo
       Nobel site and its interrelationship with Gillingham Pier.

2.     Decision Issues

2.1    This report proposes consultation on a development brief for mixed-
       use development on the Akzo site with the aim of replacing the lost
       employment and some residential development. It is a matter for
       Cabinet.

3.     Background

3.1.   Gillingham Pier is maintained by Medway Council as a wharf and
       slipway, providing facilities for commercial and leisure watercraft Its
       operation is controlled by the Gillingham Pier Order 1912. Income is
       derived from fees, mooring and launching vessels and rent from
       property, which is ring fenced in the Pier fund for its maintenance.

3.2.   In the late 1990s it became clear that the facility was deteriorating.
       Levels of usage had dropped and significant refurbishment was
       required. In partnership with Groundwork Medway Swale, a
       programme of improvements, to regenerate the area was developed,
       by Gillingham Borough Council and SRB funding sought. Over £1
       million was made available (SRB, Council capital funds,
       Supplementary Credit Approval, Gillingham Pier fund), and works to
       date include road improvements, dredging, creation of fishers’ area,
       restoration of the Victorian slipway and the installation of a new
       pontoon.

3.3.   A further phase of work has been identified in order to complete the
       refurbishment of Gillingham Pier as an attractive, thriving facility. This
       phase includes environmental improvements with facilities for boat
       users and business development on the western arm. This site has
       been the subject of a marketing exercise in order to attract private
       sector investment. This is detailed in an exempt annex. A further
       tranche of funding was allocated in the SRB 5 programme for
       environmental improvements on the basis that commercial
       development of the western arm could be committed by the end of
       March 2003.

3.4    However, the regeneration of the pier has been complicated by recent
       developments: the announcement that Akzo Nobel would close their
       operation on the adjoining site this year (see plan attached) and the
       new waste contract awarded to Cleanaway which began in September
       last year. At the start of the pier project in 1998 it had been hoped that
       the waste transfer station on Pier Approach Road (within the pier
       regeneration area) would relocate; in fact Cleanaway intend to
       consolidate the facilities there. Cabinet will know the waste will
       eventually be transported from the transfer station to Rainham in
       Essex. Cleanaway and a local shipping company have brought
       forward a proposal to develop an operation for transporting waste by
       ship from Gillingham Pier, to their site in Rainham (Essex) as an
       alternative to road transport. The proposal involved substantial physical
       structures around the pier.

3.5    These developments have prevented the progress of the original
       programme associated with the SRB 5 funding and this allocation
       (approximately £400,000) is no longer available for Gillingham Pier.

 3.6   Within the wider context, the Gillingham Pier area and the adjoining
       Akzo Nobel site are designated as an existing employment area in the
       local plan where there is a presumption against the loss of employment
       areas. Akzo Nobel are investigating redevelopment opportunities for
       their site. Their agent has approached the council requesting support in
       producing a framework plan for the area. A variety of uses are being
       proposed, including residential, employment food and drink uses
       focusing around the existing pier and its facilities.

3.7    The different proposals for the area are at different stages of
       development, some are interrelated. It is essential the opportunities for
       the regeneration of the area are progressed but it was considered
       useful to explore the possible benefits of the proposed waste transport
       operation and whether it could contribute positively to the area. The
      Medway Waterfront Members Group were advised of this area of work
      last year

4.    Development proposals

      Transport of Waste by Ship

4.1   The Cleanaway proposal has costs and benefits associated with it and
      if developed would have required the existing programme for the
      regeneration of Gillingham Pier and the emerging framework for the
      wider Gillingham Waterfront to be reviewed.

4.2   The proposal involves packing containers at the existing waste transfer
      station or at the civic amenity sites, which would then be transported to
      the dockside to await berthing of the ship. A travelling crane would
      straddle the ship with one rail on the dock itself and the other running
      parallel to the slipway. The crane would move up and down the ship
      unloading/loading the empty/full containers. The weight bearing
      capacity of the dock would need to be checked.

4.3   The local shipping company has collaborated in assessing the proposal
      as they have suitable vessels, which could handle the containers and
      dock at the pier. The proposal would achieve the removal of over 8000
      HGV road journeys annually.

4.4   The estimated capital cost of new containers, crane, new packers at
      the waste transfer and alterations to the wharf at Rainham (Essex)
      would be £5.5m. The Rainham component may well be part-funded
      through another local authority’ s waste contract that is likely to use the
      river for transport. The shipping company would provide the ships.
      Based on the present annual waste tonnage (120,000 tonnes), the
      shipping cost and additional revenue cost (£4.32/tonne) for the
      operation at the waste transfer station is cheaper than the cost
      (£6.66/tonne) of moving the waste by road. A modest freight facilities
      grant from the Department for Transport could be expected but this
      would be limited because the roads that would be relieved from
      Gillingham to Essex are dual carriageway.

4.5   This scheme obviously has the advantage of enabling Medway’s waste
      to be transported to its final disposal point in an environmentally
      sustainable way. Some work has been done to establish viability and
      means of funding and although the reduced transport costs would
      benefit Cleanaway the company would not invest in the project unless
      it were to be compensated at the end of their contract because the
      capital cost would not be amortised until after the contract finishes. The
      council has no capital budget for this work and it would unlikely to be a
      priority.
4.6    Another factor is that the new structures would have made it difficult for
       existing marine uses on the western arm to operate, although the new
       moorings on the pontoon would be unaffected. The amount of land
       available for redevelopment on the Western Arm would be substantially
       reduced and any users of the remaining areas would be constrained by
       the waste transfer operation. New access arrangements would have
       been required for the fishers’ area.

4.7    The waste industry is very dynamic at present as the medium and
       long term consequences of EU legislation are grasped. For example,
       ReMaDe (Kent and Medway) and Locate in Kent are actively
       encouraging waste businesses to develop sites at Kingsnorth for
       processing waste particularly in the field of green waste shredding and
       composting, wood chipping, sorting commercial waste from skips and
       tyre shredding. The two organisations have also generated interest and
       potential commitment from SEEDA who accept that they have not
       given priority to funding such developments in the past. Cleanaway
       have expressed an interest in this area including the potential to use
       the piers. They are considering the development of a waste park with
       energy saving equipment and special education facilities although to
       date no proposal has been made to their board of directors.


       Area Development Brief

4.8    The Gillingham Pier and associated land owned by Medway Pier
       Marine and Akzo Nobel form a significant opportunity for regeneration
       as part of Medway Waterfront. If this riverside site adjacent to the
       Northern relief road is to be developed officers will aim for a significant
       uplift to the area with a design-led approach and development of a
       sustainable mix of uses in the area.

4.9    Initial proposals for the Akzo Nobel land include residential and leisure
       uses fronting on to the Pier area and employment uses to the south
       riverside. Officers have made clear to the landowner’s agent that the
       aim should be to have an equivalent number of jobs on the site as
       those prior to Akzo Nobel’s decision to close. The introduction of
       residential development is contrary to the Local Plan policy and any
       departures will need robust justification. A design/development
       framework is needed to guide comprehensive development at this
       waterside location. A departure from the local plan would require a
       Council decision.

4.10   Commercial viability and technical issues e.g. access, flooding and
       biodiversity need to be investigated further and employment uses
       should feature as a key component in any future plans. The retention of
       the Akzo office building on the frontage should be encouraged. Careful
       design solutions need to be found to create a high quality environment
       and a mix of uses that can sit alongside each other. Particular attention
       needs to be given to development adjacent to the waste transfer
       station and consultation has been undertaken with HSE because of the
       site’s proximity to the gasholders to the east.

       Western Arm Development (see exempt appendix)

4.11   The exempt appendix sets out information relating to the recent
       marketing exercise on the site.

5.     Advice and analysis

5.1    Cleanaway and the shipping company have carried out some detailed
       work on assessing the feasibility of a waste by water operation based
       at Gillingham Pier. However it is apparent that a significant investment
       by public bodies would be required to install a facility which could only
       generate significant benefits over the long- term. When the waste
       contract is due for retendering in 2009 (or 2011 if the current contract
       is extended for an allowed period of two years) there is no guarantee
       the facilities would be reused.

5.2     A significant capital investment in the order of £5 million has been
       identified to establish a facility at Gillingham Pier and it has become
       clear that Cleanaway require a major proportion to be funded by the
       Council either now our at the end of the contract were Cleanaway to
       fund it themselves. Officers therefore consider that the proposal is not
       currently viable and would possibly reduce the benefits to be gained by
       wider regeneration proposals and negate the environmental
       improvements already carried out.

5.3     A clear and sustainable maintenance and management strategy for the
       public facility at Gillingham Pier can be established as part of a wider
       regeneration and the best uses for council owned land can be
       progressed in the context of proposals brought forward by adjoining
       landowners.

5.4    In order for a significant regeneration of this area to be achieved a
       comprehensive development framework is needed and issues of
       access, mix of uses, flood protection, ground remediation, maintenance
       and management addressed.
6.    Consultation

6.1   The regeneration work to date at Gillingham Pier has been carried out
      in consultation with users led by Groundwork Medway Swale as the
      council’s project manager. The area development brief should be the
      subject of a public consultation exercise prior to adoption by the
      Council. It is proposed to carry out consultation at the appropriate time
      in partnership with adjoining landowners including a workshop session
      for stakeholders.

6.2   The Medway Waterfront Members meeting on Thursday 14 November
      2002 considered a report on proposals for development at Gillingham
      Waterfront and ways of progressing development. Officers were asked
      to continue working in partnership with landowners. The report did not
      discuss the transport of waste by water initiative.


7.    Financial and legal implications

7.1   Any income or receipt is paid into the Gillingham Pier Fund for its future
      upkeep. Using the pier for the transportation of waste would have
      resulted in a small loss of income from mooring fees.

7.2   Any proposed development of the pier must be consistent with the
      council’s duties and powers under the Gillingham Pier Order 1912.

8.    Recommendations

8.1   Cabinet is recommended to support the production of a development
      brief prepared jointly with Akzo Nobel and their agents, for mixed-use
      development with the aim of replacing the jobs that will be lost with the
      closure of the chemical works and that a further report be made to
      cabinet following preparation of, and consultation on the draft brief with
      a view to its adoption, by council, as guidance on future development in
      the area.

8.1   Cabinet is requested to agree the existing proposals which resulted
      from the previous marketing exercise (details in exempt appendix)
      marketing exercise are rejected and that further marketing is delayed
      until a framework giving a clear understanding of the way forward can
      be formulated.

9.    Suggested reasons for decision

9.1   Gillingham Pier and the Akzo land is a significant site which can
      contribute to the regeneration of Medway Waterfront. A clear
      understanding of the way forward is needed to maximise opportunities
      for employment and high quality mixed use and to attract inward
      investment in the area.

9.2   It is considered that best consideration will not be obtained if the
      council proceeds with the development proposals resulting from the
      2001 marketing exercise.




Wendy Mesher, Principal Projects Officer

Compass Centre 01634 331336

wendy.mesher@medway.gov.uk


Background Papers

Medway Local Plan 2003
Gillingham Pier and the Port of Gillingham. Groundwork Medway Swale, Jan
1998

				
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