A joint initiative by the Maritime Heritage Trust (MHT) and National Historic Ships (NHS) Shipshape Network, with strong support from European Maritime Heritage (EMH), proposes that historic ports and harbours in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland become officially recognised as ‘Heritage Harbours’. The developing Heritage Harbours recognise the great value in sensitively developing their, often superb, historic buildings; waste land; mooring; and maintenance facilities for both local and visiting historic vessels and are identified within the NHS Shipshape Network regions.
MEDWAY HH1 – The proposal to designate Medway as the first British heritage harbour was presented to a meeting, of the local maritime heritage community and associated stakeholders at the Sun Pier House tea rooms on 10 December 2018. The meeting, at Sun Pier House, Chatham, was well attended by some forty enthusiastic representatives from the local historic vessels; the Medway Council; MHT Trustees; the Thames Sailing Barge community and representatives from Faversham. Medway Council have appointed a senior officer to represent the council on the Medway HH forum group. We are in discussions with the directors of Sail Training International, with a view to Medway being a Tall Ships race port in 2025. This will be the main agenda item at the next Medway Heritage group meeting. The ‘Boat Shed’ and other historic buildings and wharves, which form part of the historic Sheerness naval dockyard, may lead to Sheerness becoming an integral part of Medway Heritage Harbour.
FAVERSHAM & OARE HH2 – Faversham & Oare Creeks Heritage (FOHHG) have met regularly since early 2019 at Faversham Guildhall. Aims and objectives have been developed and considerable work in optimising balanced development and improvement of the creeks has already been carried out by group members. An exciting feature is that Kent County Council has continued the design work for the replacement Faversham upper creek bridge through the lockdown.
Medway Council are seeking volunteers to retrieve life rings from under Sun Pier and anywhere else you can find them on the river. To make it as easy as possible for volunteers, we can arrange collection of the life rings you have retrieved from anywhere that is convenient to you. Please contact email@example.com
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
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 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.
“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!
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.