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Chatham And Medway Docks

Volume 165: debated on Friday 19 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much money the Government have committed to the redevelopment of Chatham and Medway docks; to whom it is intended to distribute the money; and whether any consultancy agencies are involved.

Following the closure of the royal naval dockyard at Chatham, the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust was established in April 1984 to take responsibility for some 80 acres of the dockyard area, containing about 50 buildings or sites scheduled as ancient monuments. The trust was financed by a Government endowment of £ 11·35 million to assist it in repairing and maintaining the historic structures and in promoting the site as a "living dockyard". The Department of the Environment and the Ministry of Defence commissioned a consultancy report on the future of the historic dockyard prior to the establishment of the trust and the trust itself has employed consultants for a number of studies since 1984.The redevelopment of the remainder of the former royal naval dockyard is being managed by the English Industrial Estates Corporation which is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. I understand that English Estates will have committed about £26 million to the project by the end of the current financial year and that consultants have been employed to assist with the project.Part of the dockyard was designated an enterprise zone in October 1986, which entitles it to full relief from payment of rates for a 10-year period. Figures for rates forgone are available only for the north-west Kent enterprise zone as a whole, and not for the Chatham maritime enterprise zone as a separate entity.