Go to navigation

Media Invite: Creating the Great Lines City Park

Date: 03/09/2008           Category: Medway Renaissance

Chatham’s proposed World Heritage Site application has enabled a £2m bid to government to develop the Great Lines City Park – stretching from the Universities at Medway Campus in Gillingham to Fort Amherst in Chatham. If successful, work on this major flagship project for the Thames Gateway will begin in October 2008. This summer sees the chance for everyone to have a say about how this money should be spent. Nationally acclaimed landscape architects HTA Landscape Design are developing a master plan for the Great Lines City Park, which will respond inventively and sensitively to this magnificent opportunity. Last month’s public meeting at the Royal Engineers Museum saw 137 attendees, helping to identify the highest priorities for the Great Lines City Park. A public vote highlighted these as: (1) Make the park accessible and help it feel safe (2) Restore the Fort (3) Join the Inner, Lower, Great Lines and Fort to make one park. (4) Create local identity, pride and ownership (5) Make the park easy to understand and move around (6) Protect, enhance and recover the heritage and open space. The second stage of consultation will examine how these ideas can be reflected in the master plan, and will take place at Fort Amherst on Saturday 13 September, from 2pm – 4pm. All are welcome. Project manager for the World Heritage Site application and Great Lines City Park, Joanne Cable says “I’m absolutely delighted by the levels of interest in the park so far, and would encourage everyone to come along to the Fort armed with ideas and enthusiasm. The Great Lines are internationally important and genuinely unique, and deserve the increased public awareness that this project, and the proposed World Heritage Site status will bring”. Fort Amherst has been offering free guided tours each Sunday this summer to promote and raise awareness of the park, and has welcomed a record number of visitors. The weekend of the 13 and 14 September will be this year’s last chance to visit the Fort for free and a real chance to be involved in the future of the site. As well as offering an opportunity to roam the underground tunnels and explore the site, the event will feature family activities and competitions, and an opportunity for visitors to suggest a name for the park. --- ENDS --- Background: (1) Chatham Dockyard and its Defences is on the UK government’s shortlist of potential World Heritage Sites. Decisions on which sites will be added to the World Heritage List are made by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list comprises 850 sites in 138 countries. (2) The Great Lines provided a superlative layer of defence for Chatham Dockyard, by its immense open ground, and its series of ditches and ramparts, connecting with Fort Amherst and encircling the Dockyard from landward approach. (3) The UK proposes one World Heritage Site each year. The application is prepared locally, but submitted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The next potentially available application date is January 2011. Announcements of future nominations will be made once a review of the UK shortlist for nominations is complete, later this year. (4) Medway’s World Heritage Site application is possible thanks to support from the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), Communities and Local Government, Medway Council and English Heritage. (5) For more information, please visit www.chathamworldheritage.co.uk. A full report from last month’s consultation event can also be found there. (6) There will be disabled parking only at the Fort on 13 Sept. Light refreshments can be purchased on site, or why not bring a picnic? The event is fully accessible, but the tunnels regrettably are not. Guide dogs only. (7) Project manager Joanne Cable will be on site at Fort Amherst from 1.00pm onwards for questions / interviews. For further information please contact Lisa Caleno on 01634 338308 or email lisa.caleno@medway.gov.uk