An ambitious new development at Rye Wharf could create an additional 500 jobs as well as providing habitat for local flora and fauna.
The 30 acre site is being transformed so that bigger ships can manoeuvre and more businesses will be attracted.
Rastrum Ltd, based at Rye Harbour, has been in negotiation with the Environment Agency and Natural England over the last nine years to agree plans for
the new industrial park.
Rod Chapman of Rastrum explained “We are giving Natural England a big chunk of our ground free of charge and doing the earth moving for them to create new habitat.”
The Environment Agency has recently repaired part of the harbour wall, replacing corroded piles. “They have widened the river by a metre which is very useful for Rastrum’s business.”
Mr Chapman said. “We are demolishing a long, old jetty and have permission from the Environment Agency to put in a new turning circle for larger ships.” The plans are being supported by Rye MP Amber Rudd, who said: ““It is great to see the Wharf going from strength to strength. I hope that employment and opportunities will continue to expand in the harbour area.”
Nearly all of the existing space at the wharf is full. Across the other side of Harbour Road is Atlas Business Park, which is also owned by Mr Chapman and has just under 50 units and a number of containers which are let out for short and long term storage.
Nearly all the containers are in use, and all the business units are occupied. Three months ago, Scorpion Contracting Ltd built six more units there for Mr Chapman which were immediately occupied by tenants, illustrating the demand for space in the area. Nearly 400 people work on the Atlas Business Park and 500 have worked on the wharf site in the past.
Pictured is Rod Chapman with one of the huge cargo ships which regularly visit the wharf.