St Mary's Island
, is part of the Chatham Maritime development area in Medway
Medway is a conurbation and unitary authority in South East England. The Unitary Authority was formed in 1998 when the City of Rochester-upon-Medway amalgamated with Gillingham Borough Council and part of Kent County Council to form Medway Council, a unitary authority independent of Kent County...
, South East England
South East England is one of the nine official regions of England, designated in 1994 and adopted for statistical purposes in 1999. It consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex...
. It is located at the northern end of Chatham
Chatham is one of the Medway towns located within the Medway unitary authority, in North Kent, in South East England.Although the dockyard has long been closed and is now being redeveloped into a business and residential community as well as a museum featuring the famous submarine, HMS Ocelot,...
, adjacent to Brompton and Gillingham. Once part of the Royal Dockyard, Chatham
Chatham Dockyard, located on the River Medway and of which two-thirds is in Gillingham and one third in Chatham, Kent, England, came into existence at the time when, following the Reformation, relations with the Catholic countries of Europe had worsened, leading to a requirement for additional...
, the area had consisted of a mixture of sports fields and warehousing during the later years of the Royal Navy's time in occupation.
It is locally believed that, during the Napoleonic Wars, St. Mary's Island was used as a burial ground for the French POW's who died on the prison hulks moored in the Medway.
In the late 1990s, government agency English Partnerships
English Partnerships was the national regeneration agency for England, performing a similar role on a national level to that fulfilled by Regional Development Agencies on a regional level...
and housing developer Countryside, came together to build homes on the island, under the development name Countryside Maritime. In due course, some parcels of land were allowed to be developed by other builders, including Redrow.
As well as several hundred new homes, there is a primary school (recently expanded), a community centre, a doctor's surgery and a late night pharmacy. There is extensive open space between housing parcels, as well as sports fields and play areas.
There are riverside walks and cycle paths on the island, and many of the paths in the middle of the Island give views of the surrounding area. There is also a big fenced out dog run, where islands residents can let their dogs off the lead.
A number of restaurants and other amenities has opened recently. Chimichanga, Nando's, Pizza Hut, Subway, DickensWorld, and the Dockside Outlet Centre
precinct are all within a ten minute walk. This also includes a local grocery shop and The Ship and Trades pub. The western lock basin now houses a marina.
Since 2008, with the growth of island community, Youth Club "The Island's Castaways" has been established providing loads of activities for children. Also, for retired member of the community, there is St. Mary's Island Active Retirment Association (SAINTARA) that is also successfully running since 2008.
Recent developments include a large Hotel and two apartment blocks situated on the Marina. This will also house a gym and restaurants .
There is permanent road access onto the island, with good local security, making the island safer than the average new housing development .