Work is due to begin this week to transform a former supermarket into new office accommodation.
Britton Farm in Gillingham will be converted into modern offices in partnership with the tenant, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT).
The vacant building will be transformed to include treatment and therapy rooms for the trust, which provides specialist mental health services across Kent and Medway. The car park underneath the building will be used by staff Monday to Friday but members of the public will still be able to use the pay and display parking during the week and at weekends.
Medway Council received £50,000 funding from the Cabinet Office’s One Public Estate initiative for initial work to develop the plans for the site. The government initiative encourages public sector bodies to work together to unlock space for new homes or commercial businesses to generate income.
The council’s contractor, G A Harpers, will transform the building into offices and will work with local businesses to minimise disruption during the works. The building is expected to be in use from early 2020.
Once the offices and treatment rooms have been completed the council’s housing company, Medway Development Company (MDC), in partnership with Golding Homes, will build 44 apartments, 17 one-bedroom and 27 two-bedroom flats, in the old loading bay area.
Breathing new life into an empty building
Cllr Adrian Gulvin, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “I am delighted the works at Britton Farm are underway. We are determined to breathe new life into the empty building, which is in a good location near Gillingham High Street. The project complements Medway’s monumental regeneration programme which is taking shape and will continue provide growth for all. We are committed to ensuring our high streets continue to flourish and we are certain the project will benefit the local economy.”
Providing public services to local people
Ben Stoneman, One Public Estate Regional Programme Manager, said: “The One Public Estate programme is investing projects in Medway which bring together different parts of the public sector, and it is great to see Medway Council working with its health partners to bring an unused building back into productive use to provide public services to local people.”
Allowing services to relocate to specifically designed environments
John Carey, Director of Capital Planning Estates for KMPT, said: “KMPT is proud to be partnering with the council on this exciting initiative. Once ready, it will allow our services to relocate to specifically designed environments and enable service users to access our services in a more central, high street location. This is an important and much needed investment for people who live in Medway and require support with their mental ill health.”