Kelly Tolhurst is new Maritime Minister

Kelly Tolhurst MP.

As part of the Cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister has appointed Kelly Tolhurst MP, a marine surveyor by trade, as the new Maritime Minister. Kelly is also the MP for Rochester and Strood. She is also Patron of the MSBA, having been a long standing committee member.

Kelly became a councillor for Medway Council in 2011 and worked to get a River Medway strategy in place to encourage economic development and improve leisure use to replace declining commercial activity. One success was the restoration of Sun Pier, which now provides boat access to Chatham, below Rochester Bridge. Kelly is a marine surveyor and a keen Dragon racing sailor on the Medway, when time permits.

British Marine’s press release notes Kelly’s concerns about the MMO’s burdensome procedures for dredging of moorings on the Medway and effects on the leisure marine sector. With Mark Garnier MP she has set up an All-Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) for marine leisure

Chatham Docks to close in 2025

As long suspected, Peel Land & Property have revealed that Chatham Docks will close in 2025 for redevelopment into housing, retail, tourism and leisure. Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst has expressed concern at the potential loss of up to 800 jobs at the docks that have been the centre of Chatham’s economic activity for hundreds of years. Peel have not yet responded to the MP’s request for a meeting.  The privately-owned Peel Group makes no secret that their business is primarily about highly profitable property development at the many old docks and harbours that they have acquired. Dave Harris of Medway Council is reported to have said, “It is a landowner’s decision as to whether existing use of a site continues and the local authority has no control over this.”

Rochester Pier closed until further notice

Rochester Pier is closed again pending repair. This time there’s a potentially serious issue that the concrete dolphin, which links the two brows, has broken and buoyancy has become compromised. There’s a possibility of the brows becoming twisted and causing damage to the pontoon.

UPDATE: Jetstream Tours (Jacob Marley) will be using Sun Pier instead until further notice.

Another mystery boat on Rochester Pier

“Chequered Flag” has been moored without permission on Rochester Pier for at least two weeks. Adam Taylor of Medway Council says it will be seized and sold if not removed by 18 July. If you know who owns the boat please let us or Adam know.

UPDATE 24.7.2019: Chequered Flag moved to Gillingham Pier without permission, it was ‘held’ until the owners collected it and now it is moored on the poles beside Gillingham Pier. It’s possible it may move again, hopefully not to Sun Pier!

Commodore’s Hard closure (updated)

Medway Council advise that Commodores Hard slipway will be CLOSED to all users for essential safety repairs from 1st June to 1st July 2019. PLEASE DO NOT USE THE SLIPWAY DURING REPAIRS. The nearest public launch sites (apart from nearby Gillingham Pier) are Queenborough and Herne Bay. Medway Council 01634 333333

UPDATE 21 June: Owing to delays, the Hard will remain closed until 13 July. 

Rochester Pier closed again

Adam Taylor, Rivers & Paths Manager, Medway Council says, “Owing to a fault with the pontoon gate, we have had to close Rochester Pier until next Monday. Also, I’m working to retrieve traffic cones from the river bed, similar to the life rings.” If anyone can help please contact Adam on 01634 333333 or adam.taylor@medway.gov.uk