Major road improvements close to Kent Medical Campus, and near to junction 7 of the M20, have moved a step closer.

The proposed £11m scheme, designed to ease congestion on the A249 is being made by Kent County Council (KCC). The scheme is part of the wider support for the major jobs growth anticipated at Kent Medical Campus and nearby Eclipse Park.

Last year KCC was given the green light for the enlargement of two roundabouts along Bearsted Road, at the A249 and New Cut Road junctions. Signals would be enhanced, and the use of smart technology would improve traffic flows.

The road will also be widened between Bearsted Road and New Cut Road and work is expected to begin in May and last 18 months.

KCC has lodged an application with Maidstone Borough Council to build a new entrance at Newnham Court Shopping Village on Bearsted Road, Weavering, as a new part of the scheme.

KCC aims to build a new access road to the village off Newnham Court, which drivers can enter via the New Cut roundabout, removing the existing access to improve the flow of traffic on Bearsted Road.

The proposed £9.5m Innovation Centre at Kent Medical Campus, part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, has been given the go-ahead by Maidstone Borough Council.

Situated beside Junction 7 of the M20, the four storey, 37,000ft2 Innovation Centre will provide flexible office space, facilities and business support for small and medium-sized enterprises working in the life science, healthcare and med-tech sectors.

Welcoming the planning decision, Tony Collins, Chairman of Kent Medical Campus, added: “Once again Maidstone Borough Council has signalled its belief that the campus is the largest economic driver for the borough and a major centre for science, healthcare and education employment.

“Our existing planning permission for 98,000m2 of commercial space, combined with Enterprise Zone status, the arrival of Cygnet Health Care and work under way on Care UK’s latest care home, means the campus is already delivering on its potential for Maidstone.”

Once completed, the Innovation Centre – designed by Bond Bryan Architects – is expected to support around 270 jobs and will generate a further £120m Gross Value Added to the local economy over the next decade.

William Cornall, Director of Regeneration and Place at Maidstone Borough Council, said: “The Innovation Centre is integral to our growth ambitions, and it builds upon the Government’s support for the North Kent Enterprise Zone which includes the Kent Medical Campus as a key location for employment growth that will deliver 4,000 jobs for Maidstone.”

Construction is expected to commence in autumn 2019 and the Innovation Centre will be ready to welcome its first tenants in summer 2021.

The Mayor of Maidstone has helped ensure the latest development at Kent Medical Campus has solid foundations after visiting the site of what will be Care UK’s new care home.

During the visit to the campus, Mayor of Maidstone, Councillor David Naghi helped lay some of the block work for the 75-bed luxury home, which is expected to open in the summer of 2020.

It will provide 24-hour nursing care for up to 75 older people, providing a mix of rehabilitation, respite and dementia care, as well as residential care. It will also offer step-down care for patients who are well enough to leave hospital but not ready to return home, reducing pressure on local wards.

Care UK is one of the largest providers of residential care for older people, operating 119 care homes providing both residential and nursing care, with a further 20 currently being built.

Speaking at the ground breaking, Councillor Naghi, said: “Work being under way for Care UK sends out a very positive message about Maidstone as a place for progressive businesses. It is a further endorsement of our decision to support the vision for Kent Medical Campus and what it means for the borough’s economy.

“We welcome the contribution this much needed home will make to the Campus’s efforts to make Maidstone, as the county’s business capital, an even more attractive location for organisations involved in health, research and education.”

The new home will create around 100 full-time equivalent jobs, with the new employees joining Care UK’s team of 8,000 people who deliver care to more than 7,000 residents every day.

Commenting on the new arrival, Tony Collins, Chairman of Kent Medical Campus, said: “This is another exciting step forward for everybody involved in helping to make Kent Medical Campus the county town’s largest employment location.

“The extent of Care UK’s collaborative business model with the NHS and public sector agencies nationwide is genuinely inspiring and we believe will enable commissioners locally and throughout the county to benefit from the range of services planned for the new facility at Kent Medical Campus.”

Representing Kent Medical Campus during the visit, Gary Watson of property advisers JLL, added: “Care UK is rightly recognised as the country’s leading provider of care and we are delighted they have recognised that the Campus offers the right location and environment, and that it fits perfectly with its position as market leader.

“With the road network improvements due to start during the summer, we are confident that our pipeline of enquiries will be translated into other great names choosing the campus and bringing with them employment opportunities for the people of Maidstone and rest of Kent.”

Work on the groundworks is being undertaken by Maidstone-based Gallagher Group.

A planning application has been submitted by Maidstone Borough Council to develop a £9.5 million Innovation Centre at Kent Medical Campus, part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone.

The four storey, 37,000ft2 Innovation Centre will provide office space, facilities and support for small and medium-sized enterprises working in the life science, healthcare and med-tech sectors, complementing Kent Medical Campus’ existing offer to the medical sector.

With excellent access to Junction 7 of the M20, the proposed Innovation Centre would offer flexible office spaces, meeting rooms and break-out areas, hot desking space and a state-of-the-art conference facility with roof terrace, if approved.

The Reserved Matters planning application is currently being considered by the Council’s Planning Department, and a decision is expected early in April 2019. If approved, construction of the new Innovation Centre will commence in autumn 2019.

Councillor Martin Cox, Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, said: “The proposed Innovation Centre is an exciting, high-quality development. It will put Maidstone and the Kent Medical Campus firmly on the map and attract inward investment from new businesses in the medical, healthcare and life sciences sectors.

“By providing high-quality office accommodation, business support and a nurturing environment for start-ups and growing businesses, the Innovation Centre demonstrates the Council’s commitment to encouraging entrepreneurship, supporting business growth and creating high wage employment opportunities within the borough.”

Designed by Bond Bryan Architects and project-managed by construction consultancy CalfordSeaden, the project is expected to support around 270 jobs once complete and will generate a further £120m of additional gross value added to the local economy over the next decade.

Tony Collins, Chairman of Kent Medical Campus, said: “Once again Maidstone Borough Council has demonstrated its belief in the Campus as a major employment and economic driver for the borough.

“Our existing planning permission for 98,000m2 of commercial space, combined with Enterprise Zone status and the arrival of Cygnet and with work under way on Care UK, means the campus is already delivering on its potential for Maidstone.”

As part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, businesses located at the Kent Medical Campus are entitled to business rates relief. Maidstone Borough Council is investing in the site using the retained business rates that will be generated from the site for the next 25 years.

The Council recently secured more than £150,000 from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership in October 2018 to help fund the design of the Innovation Centre.

South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has backed the development of an Innovation Centre at Kent Medical Campus after approving a £156,000 bid from Maidstone Borough Council towards the cost of design work.

The success highlights the importance of Kent Medical Campus as it was one of four bids which SELEP endorsed for its Sector Support Fund, a fund designed to help bring forward projects that help grow specific industries, in this case innovation and healthcare businesses.

Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “Supporting specific projects that can help unlock the growth potential of businesses in those sectors that are going to drive our economy forward is a key to the success of the LEP.

“The Innovation Centre project builds upon the Government’s support for the North Kent Enterprise Zone, which includes Kent Medical Campus, identified by Maidstone Borough Council as a key place for employment growth in the area.”

In addition, Maidstone Borough Council has applied for a substantial grant from the European Regional Development Fund to help finance the delivery of the project.

Cygnet Hospital Maidstone has also been officially opened at Kent Medical Campus following an 18-month construction programme.

Mayor of Maidstone, Councillor David Naghi, who cut the ribbon to open the 65-bed hospital, joined representatives from Kent County Council, Maidstone Borough Council and the area’s healthcare professionals for a tour of the new £18m facility.

Tony Collins, Chairman of Kent Medical Campus team, said: “The new hospital offers excellent facilities and will be an integral part of the county’s healthcare provision. The quality of the build and fit-out epitomises our vision for the campus.

“With the groundworks on the step-down care facility under way and the campus already home to KIMS Hospital, Kent’s largest independent hospital, it means that we have delivered on our healthcare promise.

“We are working closely with many potential tenants and the proposed Innovation Centre will enhance what Kent Medical Campus has to offer.”

Commenting at the opening Simba Kaseke, hospital manager at Cygnet Hospital Maidstone said: “The new hospital has been purpose-built to meet the latest NHS specifications for improving mental health within a therapeutic environment and will ensure Kent patients can receive the treatment and care they need close to family and friends.

“All patients are referred and funded by the NHS. The hospital offers a wide range of services with the aim of ensuring patients’ swift rehabilitation and their successful return to their homes and local community.”

Kent Medical Campus is to invest £1.5m and provide land for major improvements to the A249 Bearsted Road. Work is planned to get underway in summer 2019 and be completed by the end of the 2020/21 financial year.

The work involves the signalisation and enlarging of the A249 Bearsted Road, the A249 Bearsted Road/New Cut Road roundabouts and the widening of the A249 between the two roundabouts.

The £11.399m project has been funded through the award of the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) by the Department for Transport (DfT), Maidstone Borough Council and £1.5m from KMC.

By adopting smart technology, the project will ease congestion, improve traffic flow and accommodate traffic associated with the Kent Medical Campus and the North Kent Enterprise Zone. It will also provide a new access to Newnham Court Shopping Village and support growth in the town centre and south Maidstone.

A key objective of the scheme is to reduce queueing at peak periods and ease congestion at these junctions to improve journey times reliability on this major strategic route towards the M20 J7.

For more information please contact the KCC project team at bearstedroad.majorproject@kent.gov.uk, or visit www.kent.gov.uk/bearstedroad

Care UK, the country’s largest independent provider of health and social care, has been named as the provider which will operate the new care home being built at Kent Medical Campus, close to junction 7 of the M20 in Maidstone.

The new Care home will provide 24-hour nursing accommodation for up to 75 older people, providing a mix of rehabilitation, respite and dementia care when it opens its doors in the summer of 2020.

It will offer step-down care for patients who are well enough to leave hospital but not ready to return home, reducing pressure on local hospitals.

Care UK is one of the largest providers of residential care for older people, operating 119 care homes providing both residential and nursing care, with a further 20 currently being built.

When open, the new home will create around 100 full-time equivalent jobs, with the new employees joining Care UK’s team of 8,000 people who deliver care to more than 7,000 residents every day.

Tony Collins, Chairman of Kent Medical Campus, said: “The decision by Care UK, combined with the recent opening of Cygnet Healthcare’s new hospital, means that Kent Medical Campus will soon be home to two leading national care providers, as well as Kent’s largest independent hospital KIMS.

“Care UK has recognised that Kent Medical Campus offers the right location and environment, and that it fits perfectly with its position as market leader.”

Tony Collins, Chairman of Kent Medical Campus, said: “We are delighted to welcome another Grade A care provider to Kent Medical Campus.

“The extent of Care UK’s collaborative business model with the NHS and public sector agencies nationwide is genuinely inspiring and we believe will enable commissioners locally and throughout the County to benefit from the range of services planned for the new facility at Kent Medical Campus. 

“We welcome the contribution this much needed facility will make to the Campus’ efforts to make Maidstone an attractive location for dynamic organisations involved in health, research and education.”

Care UK’s development director, Richard Pearman, said: “We are currently finalising the design of the new care home in conjunction with the developers of the building to ensure it works as well as possible for the people who will live there and our colleagues.

“Each of our care homes provides an impressive range of services for older people, ranging from short stay respite care to nursing care, end of life care, plus specialist care and support for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“Care UK is proud to be operating the next generation of purpose-built care homes and delighted to have secured the care home at Kent Medical Campus.”

Commenting on the news, Cllr Martin Cox, Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, said: “News of Care UK’s impending arrival sends out a very positive message about Maidstone as a place for progressive businesses. It is a further endorsement of our decision to support the vision for Kent Medical Campus as a major employment site in the borough.”

Local firm Gallagher has started the groundworks for the care home on Gidds Pond Road.

Kent Medical Campus, which is part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, offers 98,000m² of high quality commercial space in a 30-acre campus setting with a focus on health, science and education.

Cygnet Health Care is launching a recruitment drive for approximately 150 jobs at its new hospital, which is currently nearing completion at Kent Medical Campus in Maidstone.

On target to open in September, Cygnet Hospital Maidstone is now recruiting for a variety of full and part-time positions, including clinicians, nurses, care workers, HR, administrative, management and operational staff.

The new hospital, located near Junction 7 of the M20, is purpose-built to low secure standards to meet the latest NHS specifications for improving mental health within a therapeutic environment.

The hospital’s services have been requested and agreed by local and regional NHS bodies to meet the urgent demand for specialist mental health services within Kent and to ensure that local people can be treated close to home and as near as possible to their friends and family. This is a key Government target as rehabilitation has been shown to be more successful if patients are supported by their loved ones near to home.

Nicky McLeod, Chief Operating Officer at Cygnet Health Care, said: “The Cygnet Hospital Maidstone will deliver a top-quality service for local patients. It is an important development for us and we are pleased to be providing hundreds of jobs for the wider Kent community and are delighted at the interest already received.”

“We are looking to attract a diverse range of talent and skills from people who share our passion and commitment to caring for some of society’s most vulnerable people.”

Cllr Martin Cox, Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, added: “We welcome the Cygnet Hospital Maidstone as a flagship development at the Kent Medical Campus.

“The facility will bring a vital new service to the people of Kent as well as jobs and investment to Maidstone. The opening of this modern hospital will further underline Kent’s international reputation as a growing leader in health, science and education.”

Cygnet Health Care has been providing a national network of high-quality, specialised mental health services for more than 30 years in partnership with the NHS and local authorities.

The hospital will be registered, licensed and regularly inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

There will be an opportunity for local residents to visit the new hospital at an open day in September.

The Government’s announcement that Kent is to get its first medical school has been welcomed by Kent Medical Campus.

The new Kent & Medway Medical School will be jointly led by the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University and will open the doors to its first cohort of students in September this year.

Gary Watson of JLL, the property advisers for Kent Medical Campus, said: “This important investment in these much-needed skills to deliver the doctors and surgeons of the future will also enhance the attractiveness of the county to companies looking to develop research links with our universities and other life science and health-related businesses.

“Kent Medical Campus fully supported the joint bid and has been engaged with both academic institutions for some time. The organisations recognise the strategy being pursued by the Campus and also the many benefits which a fully occupied 30 acre campus will provide in terms of economic, academic, employment and health related benefits for generations to come.  We will do everything we can to make the Government’s investment in the county a success.”

The Kent & Medway Medical School is one of five new schools announced by Health and Social Care Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, as part of a drive to boost doctor numbers and ensure there are enough staff in parts of the country which are struggling to recruit.

New medical schools will also be established in Sunderland, Lancashire, Lincoln and Chelmsford. The aim is that the new schools will deliver a large proportion of the 1,500 new training places which the Secretary of State pledged would make the UK “self-sufficient” in doctors by 2025.

Maidstone is to receive a £4m boost to help reduce congestion and attract further businesses and jobs to Kent Medical Campus.

A bid for £4m to the Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund, submitted by Kent County Council and Maidstone Borough Council, and backed by a significant financial contribution from Kent Medical Campus, has been accepted by the Department for Transport.

The money will fund the upgrading of the two roundabouts close to Junction 7 at Bearsted Road and New Cut Road, and help create new jobs at Kent Medical Campus, part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, and support residential development.

The successful Maidstone bid, plus others in Kent and Essex, was endorsed and championed by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership as part of its role in generating economic growth for the area.

KCC cabinet member for highways Matthew Balfour said: “Capacity and traffic flow will be improved so that increased traffic from the Kent Medical Campus can be accommodated.

“This is a key employment site for the county and will create 3,000 highly skilled jobs, including specialised research and development – an area key to boosting productivity.”

Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, Cllr Fran Wilson, said: “This is a vote of confidence in our combined efforts to improve the area’s infrastructure and create new jobs at Kent Medical Campus, which is why we put £500,000 towards the project in order to unlock a further £4m from Government.”

The news was welcomed by Gary Watson of JLL, the property advisers for Kent Medical Campus, said: “The Campus is already attracting significant interest from companies and institutions eager to find a viable and attractive alternative to what’s on offer in London, and elsewhere in the South East.

“Our ability to offer a two-year turnaround from a company signing the deal to opening the door thanks to our outline planning permission and support of Maidstone Borough Council, is very attractive. The road improvements will increase the potential to create an academic, health and science-focused campus here in Kent.”

Kent Medical Campus, which has planning permission for 1,000,000ft2 of commercial property on the 30 acre site, was granted Enterprise Zone status earlier in the year by the Government.

As part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, Kent Medical Campus is able to provide financial incentives to companies choosing to invest there, and has already seen a significant rise in the number of enquiries.

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