All posts tagged 'Thames-Gateway'

Has Medway missed out? Don’t believe it!

by The Codgers' Club Saturday, October 20 2012

by Alan Watkins

After all the years of hype about Medway being the city at the heart of the Thames Gateway, the thunder has been stolen by the Kent Thameside councils.

Whether Medway likes it or not, the plan for a massive theme park near Ebbsfleet station means Medway is going to be in the shadow of Dartford and Gravesham for years. That doesn’t mean it will lose out.

The Paramount scheme for the Swanscombe peninsula offers the Medway Towns massive benefits.

So we won’t have the noise and the nightly fireworks, the traffic and the candyflossed pavements. Instead, we have the potential of the benefits.

The theme park is going to need thousands of people to service it. Who is going to make the bread that will be needed for the sandwiches, supply the milk for the cups of tea and coffee, and the maintenance for the equipment?

Where are the brains capable of delivering the attractions – the concepts, the realities and the science behind it all?

Who will clean and tidy and dispose of the waste, run the buses and coaches, and, above all else, be awake to the opportunities for business in the Medway Towns? The answer is that Medway Council should be looking at how it can provide the knowledge, expertise and skills that exist in the Towns in such a way that the developer will need to look at Medway for many of the theme park’s needs.

There will be places for graduates from the Universities in Medway, but it is not all graduate jobs.

There will be opportunities for people to train, or be trained in, the entertainment, hotel and leisure areas, whether it is as a character from British history, as a juggler, or a machine operator.

This might have been seen by some as a lost opportunity for Medway. Don’t you believe it. This is an opportunity for each of us. The day the theme park opens, the Thames Gateway investments will have been justified.

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Categories: Moans and groans

Taking centre stage

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Friday, October 22 2010

It’s unusual to see Peter Symons, the urbane director of business development at Locate in Kent, take centre stage.

But at this week’s launch of the Kent Property Market Report in Dartford, the man who often prefers to be behind the scenes was thrust into the limelight because his boss was on the other side of the Pond.

Paul Wookey, chief executive of the agency that promotes Kent and Medway as great places for business investment, had decided to take a family holiday in the United States. It’s probably the first property review launch he has missed, and there have been 19.

So enter Peter, and he did a good job of chairing an event attended by 200 property experts and guest speakers Paul Carter, KCC leader, Alison Owen, a partner with Maidstone-based specialists Cluttons and Sarah Whitney, head of government and infrastructure at CB Richard Ellis.

With Mr Carter having a far-projecting voice, he abandoned the microphone for his speech, pushing it to one side. But Ms Whitney forgot to restore the mike to his proper position so many delegates could not hear her interesting speech on "place-making."

You could see the shuffling, the reading of documents and the checking of Blackberries. A shame, because one key fact that she revealed was that Kings Hill had been established as an important "place" which had contributed to a 20 per cent premium in property values.

Ms Owen found a roving mike and could be heard clearly. End of shuffling. The overall message to 200 guests was that Kent and Medway had done quite well despite the downturn, better in fact than almost everywhere else, although rents had declined in most markets. We have often said that the county is better-placed than most to ride recession because of its ideal location, high-speed trains and big projects like the Thames Gateway. But the elephant in the Princes Park Stadium was the spending review.

No one was quite sure how that would play with the property and investment market. But with councils and government departments drastically cutting back on spending, as well as laying off thousands, the prospects are not promising. But they can’t take away those assets which could well carry the county through another period of economic uncertainty less battered than elsewhere.

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Categories: Business | Housing | Local Politics

How Ed's election will go down in the business community

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Thursday, September 30 2010

The election of the “wrong” brother to lead the Labour Party is unlikely to be good news for business.

That Ed Miliband owes his position so much to the trade unions will be a running sore. If activists threaten a winter of discontent, he may try to restrain them but they will always be able to retort “we put you there - keep quiet.”

Employers may find a revival in union militancy insufficiently curbed by a new leadership that is likely to be more pro-union than New Labour.

I read a lot about the end of New Labour and getting back to core support under a “new generation.” But surely it was Tony Blair’s creation of New Labour and its shift to the centre ground of British politics that ensured those election victories. It engaged Middle England and that engagement is vital to Labour if it wants to get back into power.

I’m sure that most Middle England voters in Kent would have preferred David Miliband, and it is strange that Labour rejects a man with so much experience at senior level in favour of someone with so little. I suppose it’s a bit like businesses that turn their back on an experienced employee in favour of an outsider with shiny-new appeal. But that lustre often fades as the organisation has second thoughts about their choice.

It is curious to think that had David been more ruthless about deposing Gordon Brown, he may well have been PM today, rather than playing second fiddle to his kid brother and quitting frontline politics.

I interviewed him at the Thames Gateway forum a few years ago and even then he seemed a leader-in-waiting, with an accessible personality, lots of intelligence and popular support.

Ed may surprise us, but he has a lot of obstacles to surmount if he is to win the wholehearted support of business  and a majority of Kent voters.

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Categories: Business | National Politics

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