We have received funding from the government’s Future High Streets Fund to enable additional improvements to be made to Chatham Town Centre, making it an even better place
Part of the fund will be used to landscape and restructure The Paddock (the space between Chatham Waterfront Bus Station and the Pentagon Shopping Centre), creating a
The improvements are designed to celebrate the area's heritage as well as making the area more accessible and easier to get around for both residents and visitors.
Works have now started on site and the project is due to be completed by spring 2024.
If you’re visiting the area, please be aware that there will be disruptions to pedestrian access from Military Road to the Brook Theatre crossing. An alternative route will be created via the crossing opposite the army recruitment centre.
To enter the high street and Pentagon Shopping Centre from The Paddock, residents will need to walk around the site while works are carried out to improve pathways.
We will keep you updated on progress throughout the programme via a photo gallery.
Artist's impression of The Paddock.
Results from our last engagement - July 2022
We ran a survey on the key principles being considered for The Paddock public realm improvements between Monday
We listened to your comments and developed the design further to include your feedback:
There was strong support that the proposal met your expectations with regards to improved accessibility. 70% of respondents scored it as a highly important or important principle within the design.
Therefore, the design will stay at the proposed offer which will include a new pathway linking 2 pedestrian crossings between the bus station and Brook Road. Re-surfacing Military Road will also take place to help improve connections to The Paddock. The paths will be wider while retaining the current amount of greenspace in the area.
There was good support that the proposal met your expectations with regards to planting and green space. 62% of respondents scoring it highly important/important. Comments were made regarding the types of planting, with a preference for the hardy and robust planting. The planting will accommodate the following:
- we'll include sensory planting
- a mix of shrubs, perennial and flowering plants
- plants that have fruit and berries that will benefit the wildlife
- the planting strategy will increase biodiversity
- we know that maintenance is important, so we are ensuring that there is a maintenance package for the scheme to ensure its longevity.
The feedback was supportive for the design to remain at the current level of proposed lawn space to planting offer, with 64% of respondents agreeing that the proposal remains as it is.
Therefore, the design will stay at the proposed offer of three accessible lawns (1300 square metres approximately) and planting areas (2,000 square metres approximately) increasing the level of biodiversity and seasonality through the use of around 75 different species of plants that will attract wildlife.
Open space use
There was strong support that the proposal met your expectation with regards to the central open space, with 72% of respondents scoring it highly important/important. This included:
- 54% in support of a water feature
- 75% in support of the seating proposal
- 73% in support of the enhanced lighting.
Therefore, the design will stay at the proposed offer including all of these features (subject to cost), benefiting existing and future residents. The seating area will be within a central open space and made out of reclaimed marine timber, to draw links to the area’s heritage.
There was good support confirming that the proposal met your expectation with regard to links to the site’s heritage, with 62% of respondents scoring it highly important/important.
Your comments wanted further emphasis to be placed on The Paddock’s heritage, including the area’s naval history. To accommodate this, we're looking into ways that the area’s heritage can feature throughout the design.
The delivery of this will be reviewed when a principle contractor is
Your questions answered
We’ve reviewed your comments from the survey and answered questions about the scheme:
Providing a play area
The provision of a play area was considered, however, due to the close proximity of the road this was deemed unsafe and therefore not viable for this particular location.
The scheme also accommodates anti-skate measures to ensure the safety of residents and visitors enjoying and using the space. We understand your concerns around anti-social behaviour in Chatham and have worked in partnership with Kent Police to ensure that, where possible, the scheme deters anti-social behaviour whilst enabling people to enjoy the space.
As part of the proposal, a tree survey was undertaken to establish the condition of the existing trees on The Paddock and whether they would provide future sustainable benefits to the area.
In total, 5 trees are planned to be removed due to their poor condition, ill health and disease. The 5 trees being removed will be replaced on The Paddock with healthy trees carefully selected to ensure they will be resilient and long living, increasing the age structure and improving longevity of trees in The Paddock.
The re-location of the anchor to Chatham Waterfront will complement the area’s marine heritage with its location and proximity to the river.
What we’re doing
Thanks to the comments received, we're finalising the design for The Paddock, in line with the community’s aspirations for the area.
This will include:
- new seating areas
- a new central open space making an inviting focal point
- re-alignment of Military Road to improve accessibility for everyone
- new planted areas to increase biodiversity
- retaining lawn spaces within the design
- new trees (to replace 5 trees of ill health - there will be no overall net loss of trees)
- enhanced lighting
- anti-vandalism measures.
Previous survey: the results
We ran a survey between Monday 20 December 2021 and Friday 14 January 2022.
This asked for your views on our proposals to create a new modern and vibrant public space at The Paddock (the space between Chatham Waterfront Bus Station and the Pentagon Shopping Centre), for residents and visitors to enjoy.
The results were overwhelmingly positive, with many agreeing with our proposals.
The results showed:
- there was strong support for public open spaces in Chatham to be regenerated (88% of respondents scoring it highly important/important), and that the regeneration of The Paddock referenced its heritage (82% of respondents scoring it highly important/important)
- improved accessibility was seen as an important part of the scheme (over 80%) and 69% that a central open space was highly important/important
- overwhelming feedback was received for Military Road to be reinstated
- there was strong support for The Paddock to become a recreational resource again, with the majority of responses supporting a water feature (46% of respondents said this was highly important/important, 18% did not have a view and 36% did not feel it was important), and that this will contribute to a calm and relaxing environment
- over 80% supported new planted areas, 79% the inclusion of lawns and 90% that trees formed part of the design. There was support for it to be wildlife attracting (61%) but limited interest in seasonality, that the planting was colourful or attractive, sensory, robust and easy to maintain (under 50%)
- the importance of including trees as part of the overall design was very important (72% of respondents felt this was very important)
- the recreational offer was seen as very important by 50% of respondents, as well as having a central open space (45% of respondents felt this was very important).
This project has been made possible thanks to funding that we received from the government’s Future High Streets Fund. It’s allowed us to make a number of improvements within Chatham High Street to make the area an even better place for Medway residents and visitors to enjoy.
Artist's impression of The Paddock.