Fast-Track Planning Process for Innovation Park Medway (IPM) Announced

Hello Medway Property News Investors,

With its transport links into London, strong house price growth and significant developments already underway, Medway is an excellent choice for property investors as not only will they benefit from excellent capital growth, but also an increase in demand as more people choose to move out of the city.

Another exciting development is Innovation Park Medway: 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. I first wrote about this development in April 2017, and it is interesting to review how it has developed!

The development hadn’t reached formal planning stage and had remained in the form of a “masterplan” adopted by Medway council in March 2019. The council, however, announced on 5th February that a fast-track planning process is now in place!

This is a significant development for The Medway Towns and I have been investing time looking through the site proposals. I’ve been impressed at the visions for future development which I hope will transpire as it progresses.

What Will the Development Look Like?

The site will be divided into seven categories of plots and the design code document, compiled by LDA Design in October 2020, includes a number of stunning visuals outlining how the completed development would look.

The document illustrates how stunning the overall development will be and I have presented some selected images below. Although I have only been able to source low-res versions of the pictures, they give a good idea of the scope for look and feel of the completed development.

Plot Type 1 – Gateway Plots

Plot Type 2 – Park Edge Plots

Plot Type 3 – General Plots

Plot Type 4 – Parking Deck Plots

Plot Type 5 – Runway Edge Plots

Plot Type 6 – Woodland Plots

Plot Type 7 – Iconic Building Plots

What Stage Is the Development At?

The development has reached an exciting stage as, following the adoption of a Local Development Order (LDO) in December 2020, a simplified and accelerated planning process is now in place.

This means that, rather than needing to submit a full planning application, developers can self-certify and submit a proposal within the LDO’s criteria, provided they are compliant with it. Following submission and a seven-day validation period, it will only take 28 days to receive permission and building can commence once infrastructure works such as access roads and utilities have been completed.

Medway Council comment that this infrastructure should be completed next year and I anticipate there will be some significant new announcements throughout 2021 as plots get approved!

About the Site

Medway Council owns most of the site, with Rochester Airport Ltd and BAE Systems being the two main leaseholders. A small portion of the site is within the boundary of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and the site of Woolmans Wood Caravan Park, to the south-west of Innovation Centre Medway, is privately owned.

Land is it is being made available to developers in a 10m x 10m grid format. I have researched whether land will be sold or leased to developers and not found anything to highlight either, so assume land will be leased to developers. I personally think that this is a positive move, however, would be interested to hear your thoughts about this as well

The Benefit for Investors

There is a significant amount of development within the Medway Towns and this is an excellent signifier of future potential for investors. As well as the prospect of creating thousands of jobs, I expect that the site will also lead to a further increase in property prices as demand within the area grows.

I will be keeping a close eye on this development as it progresses over the coming months and will certainly schedule a visit when it is under construction as I did last summer with the exciting Rochester Riverside Development.

I trust that you found this article helpful!


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