An area of Kent is hoping to create around 1,300 jobs in tech, engineering and manufacturing with the creation of an innovation hub.
Medway has unveiled its plan for a multimillion pound, up to 100,000 square metre, site near Rochester Airport, in a bid to grow local talent and rival the capital with cheaper costs.
The council is aiming to attract start-ups to Innovation Park Medway with business rate discounts and its quick access to London and mainland Europe via high speed rail links.
“We’re growing in size but we also need a really high quality, high-tech environment to enable start-ups that we already have here in Medway,” said Kelly Tolhurst, MP for Rochester and Strood, who also serves as Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility.
“We’ve got high skilled people here already, so I would like to see London competing for what we might be able to offer here.
“This is about being able to achieve our own economic growth here in Medway, that does benefit local people as well.
Innovation Park Medway (Medway Council)
“It’s not just about attracting people from London, this is about making sure that we see economic growth that benefits local people.”
The MP also shrugged off fears that companies could leave the UK as Brexit looms, arguing that people still want to come to Britain to do business.
“Despite what is said in the media, there are a lot of things that we do better than Europe and we will continue to do better as we leave the European Union next year,” she added.
Paul Jackson, who has grown his company Dovetail Games from about 95 to 150 since the Brexit vote, echoed that Medway’s location makes it ideal as a gaming developer.
Fishing Sim World is one of the games made by Dovetail Games, based out of Chatham. (Dovetail Games)
“I can be in Oxford Street quicker from Medway, via Ebbsfleet, than I could if I lived in Wimbledon,” he said.
“And I can be in Paris in two hours – I can literally have lunch in Paris and then come back again for tea.”
Icomera, a Swedish firm that monitors WiFi for public transport, moved its UK headquarters out of London to Medway in 2015.
The plans for Innovation Park Medway will now be put forward for public consultation.