Innovation Park Medway Plans Halted

We have some BIG news for you! Back in February 2021 (we can’t believe it’s been this long…), our Founder Hasan wrote an article about how a fast-track planning process for Innovation Park Medway was announced and back then explained how the park was:

“A major development at Rochester Airport which will offer up to 100,000sqm of commercial space, anticipated to drive growth by attracting high-value technology, engineering, manufacturing and knowledge-intensive businesses.”

Back in 2017 he also wrote about this development and here we are, seven years later with some interesting developments as we keep track of the development for you.

Well… it’s recently been announced that the development is due to be halted after potential tenants including Netflix fail to materialise. This is a big deal that throws the whole scheme into some form of disarray.

Looking at Netflix themselves, after the COVID boom that led to a surge in revenues, you’ll see how growth has slowed but has not fallen off a cliff.

We have done some research and cannot see a reason for Netflix slowing their expansion of locations, so it must simply be that their interest was never 100% confirmed and strategy simply changed somewhat.

A quote from Councillor Simon Curry ; Title: Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Strategic Regeneration in June 2023 reads:

“They haven’t approached us yet, but if Netflix said they were interested we’d welcome them with open arms.”

We will never know the details, but what I find interesting is that there were about 200 businesses who had expressed an interest in taking up space at the development. So, what does the council mean saying that interest failed to materialise?!

It appears that Innovation Park Medway is being discussed by the council in February with the potential of using £200k from the budget to carry out a review and assess the best way forward.

On the question as to what exactly happened, the only information I can glean is that the change in direction is due to the way businesses operate post pandemic and an increase in post-pandemic costs.

Pausing plans and potentially changing direction has received a scathing response from Ex Council leader Alan Jarrett, who said it would be “short sighted” and “foolish” to pause plans altogether as the development would have been excellent for the area.

As you can imagine, comment from the general public is something of an outrage in view of pausing the project. Quite rightly, there’s a big question “where has £11m gone?” being asked and one comment that caught our eye read:

“How strange a very similar thing happened here in Ashford, promises of Netflix studios and an Amazon warehouse. But now just going to be flats.”

What’s next for the development? We're not sure but will keep you posted as this troubled project embarks on yet another challenging year!

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