Published: Thursday, 28th October 2021

We are set to receive nearly £14.5million funding to invest in historic landmarks in Chatham.

We will receive £14.4million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund which aims to restore the pride people feel in the places they call home and protect culture and heritage.

The funding will be invested in three projects in Medway’s city centre to support the area’s flourishing creative sector and provide further opportunities for economic growth including new co-working and studio spaces as well as creating job opportunities for local residents and graduates. The funding will also reinforce Medway’s position as a regionally important creative hub which will attract further investment in Medway benefitting the local economy.

The three projects are:

  • The Docking Station – a partnership between the University of Kent, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and Medway Council, will transform the Grade II listed Scheduled Monument and former Police Section House, situated just to the north of The Historic Dockyard Chatham, into a unique creative facility, home to the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries. The Docking Station will deliver c.780 sqm of incubation and acceleration spaces for University of Kent graduates, shared workspaces for academic and non-academic staff, artists, creative and technologists, flexible teaching spaces for creative skills development and training, studio and performance spaces as well as an innovative digital immersive interactive gallery.
  • The Brook Theatre – the Grade II listed Brook Theatre in Chatham city centre will be comprehensively repaired, refurbished and upgraded to deliver a state-of-the-art, accessible, inclusive, digitally upgraded, and sustainable modern theatre complemented by the creation of over 400 sqm of digitally enhanced creative workspace. The Brook will be a place where creative industries will flourish, catalysed by a programme of support delivered through a partnership with the University of Kent’s Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries, connecting with the Docking Station.
  • The Fitted Rigging House (South) – Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust (CHDT) propose to bring this Grade I listed Scheduled Ancient Monument back into effective use to create 1,939 sqm of creative industries focused commercial floorspace. This project will build on the previous successful projects led by CHDT including the conversion of the Fitted Rigging House (North) and the creation of a creative industries centre at The Joiners Shop to reinforce the Historic Dockyard’s position as a creative industries hub and as a successful tourism anchor for Medway and beyond. It will provide space for growing and mature creative enterprises expanding out of the Docking Station and Brook Theatre, establishing a pathway for growth.

We will now work with the University of Kent and Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust on the final proposals.

Building skills and growth for the future

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded £14.4million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF). These important and innovative projects at The Docking Station, The Brook Theatre and The Fitting Rigging House will help build skills and growth for the future. The funding further supports the establishment of Chatham as our city centre. These exciting projects will also have a visible impact on Medway’s cultural and heritage infrastructure and creative industries sectors, supporting Medway’s cultural strategy, delivered by Creative Medway, and aim for the area to be internationally recognised for its creativity and culture by 2030.”

Creating jobs and delivering significant economic benefit

Richard Morsley, Chief Executive, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, said: “We are thrilled to hear Medway Council has been awarded £14.4m from the government’s Levelling Up Fund. Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust champions a long-standing strategy of ‘preservation through re-use’, bringing historic buildings into effective everyday use. Funding to support the development of both the Fitted Rigging House South and the Police Section House (Docking Station) will see two currently undeveloped Scheduled Ancient Monuments brought back into active re-use, creating jobs and delivering significant economic benefit. Medway has a thriving creative community, and these spaces will be vital in facilitating the growth of these industries.”

Crucial boost 

Professor Catherine Richardson, Director of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries at the University of Kent, said: “We are thrilled to hear that Medway has been successful in its bid for the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for the Docking Station, Brook Theatre and Fitted Rigging House projects. This gives us the crucial boost we need to get started on a state-of-the-art home for cultural and creative industries skills development for Medway at the Docking Station. It will make a huge positive impact on the cultural regeneration of the area, the Creative Estuary cultural hub and the wider Thames Estuary Production Corridor.”

More information about these exciting projects will be announced in due course.

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