Medway Council is in the process of creating a River Strategy which, once completed, will be instrumental in helping to address river user needs, monitor pollution, coastal erosion and secure future funding to protect and enhance river access locations and plan ecological improvements such as salt marsh preservation and creation. To help us understand the changing nature of the estuary and visual history of the river, we are seeking old photos of the following:
St Mary’s Island
Hoo Salt Marsh
St Mary’s Island
If you have any photos of these sites we would be very grateful if you could scan and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively photos can be collected from your address, copies made and then returned to you.
This is a unique opportunity for river users to make the first contributions to the River Strategy. For any photos we use we will credit the person who provided them.
In the meantime, here are two photos: the farmhouse which once stood on Nor Marsh, taken in 1932, and Sun Pier taken in the 1960s, which we hope are of interest to MSBA members.
We look forward to hearing you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.
On 18 August the Marine Management Organisation started a 56-day consultation on the PLA’s application for a Harbour Revision Order (HRO). The PLA is seeking the HRO to update the provisions of the Port of London Act under which they operate, and they are required to promote the consultation along the length of their jurisdiction.
Among the miscellaneous changes are “modifying limitations on the exercise of the PLA’s powers in relation to the Medway approach and areas off Southend-on-Sea and Sheerness.”
Since the death of the owner, 103 year old Mr Parham, there have been rumours but now it can be confirmed that Gillingham Marina is for sale by Savills. The property is open to offers as a going concern but is said to have development potential subject to planning permission.
Howard Pridding (RYA Director of External Affairs) and Stuart Carruthers (RYA Cruising Manager) will give an online presentation from 7.30 pm on Friday 2 October, with opportunity for questions. Registration is required and attendance is free. We hope it will help to clarify things for boaters about 2021 and beyond. Register at www.ryabrexitforum2020.eventbrite.co.uk
The online forum is in lieu of a face to face forum, which is now not possible following the latest government stipulations about meeting only in groups of 6. The forum is specifically being offered for boaters in the RYA London and SE region, but will be opened up to others if numbers permit. There is a limit of about 250.
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.
Despite the Royal Navy’s proud 400-year association with Chatham, the RNSA has been given its marching orders from its modest base at the Historic Dockyard to make way for yet another housing development. The Sea Cadets and Sea Scouts who share the slipway and shore facilities will also have to go.
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
GridLink Interconnector Limited (GridLink) is proposing to develop a high voltage direct current interconnector linking the British and French electricity grids. The GridLink project will consist of two converter stations, one close to the existing National Grid 400kv substation at Kingsnorth and one near Dunkerque. The converter stations will be connected by underground cables (onshore) and subsea cables (offshore).
Intertek has been appointed by GridLink as Marine Consultants to support the development of the project. GridLink is intending to submit an application for a Marine Licence (to the Marine Management Organisation) for the construction, operation and maintenance of a new electricity interconnector under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, in May 2020. In support of the Marine Licence application, GridLink will provide environmental information and an assessment of potential environmental effects. For example, the application will demonstrate that due consideration has been given to navigational safety, the historic environment, effects on nature conservation sites (e.g. marine protected areas) and effects on other marine stakeholders (e.g. recreation and fishing). [Webmaster’s emphasis]
Intertek is currently preparing an Environmental Report to support the Marine Licence application. This will provide a baseline for each environmental topic; describe the likely effects of the proposed development on each topic, including identifying those that are potentially significant; and if necessary outline project-specific mitigation to be followed to avoid or negate adverse effects.
Stakeholders and the public will have the opportunity to review and comment on the Marine Licence application through a consultation exercise once the application is submitted. However, Intertek would like to ensure that the application documents address any concerns that stakeholders have prior to this consultation process.
Further information on the GridLink project can be found here. Intertek would welcome any questions and/or concerns regarding the project for consideration in the preparation of the Environmental Report, particularly from clubs or organisations close to the proposed route. From experience in the Thames Estuary, the MSBA is concerned that the works may require exclusion zones that may block access in or out of Stangate Creek for instance, affecting several clubs. The information supplied does not give reassurance on this point.
Comments can be provided by letter or email to the following address: Anna Farley, Intertek, Exchange House Liphook, Hampshire, GU30 7DW Email: Anna.Farley@intertek.com Tel: 01428 727800
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.”