Industry rebar supplies at risk from Chatham Docks scheme

Steel producer ArcelorMittal is warning that its rebar facility supplying 30% of UK needs may have to close as a result of a planned new business park at Chatham Docks.

Developer Peel Waters last night gained planning consent from Medway council to transform the 18 acre waterfront industrial estate at Chatham Docks into a new high-spec business park.

The Basin 3 employment and enterprise campus is hoped to bring thousands of new jobs to the area.

Peel Water’s planned Basin3 waterfront business campus development has gained local planning green light

But steel producer ArcelorMittall has warned that if the scheme goes ahead, it would force the closure of one of the country’s main rebar facilities potentially hitting around a third of UK supplies.

The steel giant claims that there are no viable alternative sites in southern England –the location closest to greatest level of demand – and has vowed to fight the application, which now needs to be rubberstamped by the next Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities after the Election.

Aerial of large ArcelorMittal Kent Wire facility at Chatham Docks in Kent

Phil Taylor, former chief executive of ArcelorMittal Kent Wire said: “Last night’s decision brings the decimation of Chatham Docks and the loss of 800 direct jobs one step closer and it all now rests with the next Secretary of State to intervene and stop this threat to the UK construction sector.

“There are many deficiencies within this application and the fact that it was rushed through even with a holding direction in place is shameful.

“This resolution to grant consent poses a grave risk to our UK operations and the supply of 30% of reinforced concrete steel products to major UK infrastructure projects.

“Every significant infrastructure project that you can think of – HS2, the London Thames Tideway, steel reinforcement – was supplied from Chatham.”

He added: “In an increasingly unstable global world, the necessity of industrial security makes perfect sense, and a continued presence for us at Chatham Docks secures for the UK a vital construction material.

“The fight isn’t over and we will now be calling on the next Secretary of State to do the right thing and call-in this application.”

The steel giant commissioned architects to draw up rival plans for the big dock site two years ago to keep the docks open and retain the steel reinforcing bar factory.

ArcelorMittal’s alternative plan to keep the docks open

James Whittaker, Managing Director, Peel Waters said: “We are very pleased planning has been approved for Basin3. Our vision for Basin3 will create a dynamic, employment enterprise destination that integrates with existing communities whilst attracting new employers and business to the area, offering much needed, high-quality, new employment spaces for already established Medway businesses, and bolstering Medway’s economic growth.

“Receiving outline planning permission for Basin3 will help attract significant inward investment into Medway. We look forward to helping build an exciting new future and legacy for this employment site in Medway.”


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