Published: Tuesday, 18th September 2018

Businesses across the south-east and London have the opportunity of expanding at a new, innovative business park in Medway.

Innovation Park Medway is a prime development in north Kent and offers an exciting opportunity for businesses to grow. It is expected to become a magnet for high value technology, engineering, manufacturing and knowledge intensive businesses.

The site at Rochester Airport, which forms part of the pioneering North Kent Enterprise Zone, offers up to 100,000m2 of high quality, innovative commercial space in a prime spot between London and the continent.

Businesses which locate in Innovation Park Medway will be part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone community and have access to world-class research and development, as well as highly skilled talent through the four Medway based universities and two colleges. It also has the potential to offer state-of-the-art meeting and conference space, business facilities and opportunities for networking.

Innovation Park Medway will also offer an attractive business rate discount to those who locate to the site - up to £55,000 annually for five years and a maximum of £275,000 per business.

Medway has an ambitious vision to be a leading waterfront university city by 2035. Medway is now the biggest regeneration zone within the Thames Gateway and is one of the most promising growth areas in the south-east - its economy is worth £5.17bn and there are 14,000 businesses based in Medway.

Innovation Park Medway welcomed its first resident in May – staff at Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance relocated and settled into the unique, bespoke and brand new modular building.

Innovation Park Medway’s launch event was held in the air ambulance’s hangar on Tuesday, 18 September. Dozens of business owners, investors and developers attended the event to find out more about the plans for Innovation Park Medway, and to show their interest in the new business hub.

A draft masterplan has been created, setting out the development proposals for the site, and members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback on the proposals. On Tuesday, 4 September, Medway’s Cabinet approved a recommendation to consult the public on the draft masterplan. The public consultation opened on Monday, 17 September and ends on Monday, 29 October 2018.

It is hoped the masterplan will be adopted in Medway in December 2018 and in Tonbridge and Malling in January 2019, ensuring minimal delay for businesses to plan for their future at Innovation Park Medway and for development to move from blueprint to completion swiftly.

'Medway is fast becoming known as the new economic powerhouse for the south-east'

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “I am delighted that so many local business owners and employees joined us at the launch of Innovation Park Medway. This is an exciting time for Medway, with a monumental regeneration programme already underway and providing opportunities for those who live, study and work in the area. Medway is fast becoming known as the new economic powerhouse for the south-east and has a growing reputation for innovative businesses.

“We were committed to creating a high quality, commercial innovation space for a wide range of high-value technology, engineering, manufacturing and knowledge-intensive businesses, and Innovation Park Medway does just that. It offers new and existing businesses the opportunity to grow and be surrounded by successful companies, some of which already do business internationally. The site also offers attractive business rates, something we were keen to introduce to further support our business community. We recognise the importance of helping businesses grow and to build foundations now to benefit Medway’s future.”

'Increasing local entrepreneurship and business growth'

MP Kelly Tolhurst, Member of Parliament for Rochester & Strood, said: “Having been born, schooled and run a small business in Medway, this is a particularly exciting project for our towns which will boost local skills and our economy and maintain Medway as a great place to live and work into the future. Medway already has a lot to shout about when it comes to high-skilled technology, engineering and manufacturing and Innovation Park Medway in its ideal location will only help increase local entrepreneurship and business growth.”

'Major centre of employment for Medway'

Geoff Miles, Vice Chair of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Medway Innovation Park is an excellent example of how development can be delivered through partnership. The priority to create more high-quality space to support Medway’s growing business community led to the identification of the site and plans which we are celebrating today.

“Over the next few years it will become a major centre of employment for Medway and make an important economic contribution to the area.”

'Medway is an absolutely fantastic place to live and work'

Paul Jackson, CEO of Dovetail Games, which is based in Chatham, said: “We found that basing our business in Medway has been fantastic. Medway has everything; we have exceptionally fast links into London which we need and we have a very good skilled employment base with four universities based in Medway which we can draw from at any time.

“Medway is an absolutely fantastic place to live and work and Medway Council is incredibly supportive and helpful, and you need the support of a local council if you're really going to make a success of your business.

“Medway is going to be an area of real growth and excitement over the next 20 to 30 years. It has transformed itself and because of that, as well as the area’s growth and closeness to London, it gives us the confidence that this is a great place for our business to be based and grow in the future.”

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