In the South East of England, the Port of Sheerness (part of the Medway Estate) is Peel Ports flagship terminal, handling up to 1.3 million tonnes of cargo a year across commodities such as forest products, steel, cars and much more.
Its location near London makes it the ideal port of call for the capital helping to link European and global trade to London, the South East and the heart of the UK.
Peel Ports created a 20 year Master Plan to inform the local community and key stakeholders of its proposals for sustainable expansion of the port estate and its ambition to create around 1,250 jobs in the next two decades, enabling it to remain a key employer and investor in the region. A consultation programme was set up with the community and stakeholders.
In total, 298 people attended a series of consultation events held over three days in November 2014 at Sheppey Gateway and Eastchurch Village Hall. The public was given a chance to discuss the five options for growth outlined in the Master Plan, which include a heritage quarter redevelopment, a mixed use development incorporating a marina, as well as a rail link from Sheerness to Liverpool.
Feedback forms from the public consultation events identified strong support from local residents and stakeholders, with 83% of respondents expressing their full backing for the proposals outlined. In particular, plans to redevelop the site of the former steelworks facility were supported by 87% of respondents, with 84% of respondents keen to see a mixed use development or marina at Garrison Point.
Feedback revealed that 94% of respondents recognise the Port of Sheerness has a significant impact on the area providing economic benefits and employment creation and retention. Peel Ports’ has already committed to filling these jobs with local people wherever possible. The proposals come less than a year since Peel Ports opened a new inspection centre for Volkswagen at the port, which has created around 100 new jobs in the area.
Miles Hearn, Port Director, said: “We are keen to progress our strategic commitment to grow and develop the Port of Sheerness over the next 20 years and showcase our long term ambition to remain a key employer and driver for sustainable growth in the Swale region. “The response to our public consultations has been phenomenal and the fact that almost 300 people attended them shows how important the future of the port is to people in the area."
The publication of the final Master Plan is expected in 2016.