Community shows support for 20 year master plan for port of Sheerness

Peel Ports’ plans for a 20 year growth strategy for the Port of Sheerness have received overwhelming backing from local residents, according to the results of a community and stakeholder consultation programme.

The Port of Sheerness Master Plan was created by Peel Ports to inform the local community and key stakeholders of its proposals for sustainable expansion of the port estate, and to gather feedback.

The Master Plan also details Peel Ports’ ambition to create around 1,250 jobs over the next 20 years, enabling it to remain a key employer and investor in the region.

In total 298 people attended a series of consultation events held over three days in November 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 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.

This Master Plan has been developed because Peel Ports has made a long-term, strategic commitment to grow and develop the Port of Sheerness. The Master Plan sets out our intentions of how we plan to develop the port so it remains a key employer and driver for growth in the Swale region for the next two decades.

Our Master Plan is very much a collaborative process that we believe will have a significant and lasting impact on the Swale region.”

Peel Ports will now undertake a comprehensive review of all feedback received during the public consultation so changes and additions to the draft Master Plan can be considered.

The publication of the final Master Plan is expected in 2016.

Peel Ports will continue to keep the public fully informed of any developments during the planning process.

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