A historic Thames Barge, wonderful canal boats and lots of people enjoying themselves by the river.
That can’t be Dartford, right?
Wrong. This riverside scene is less than 700 yards from Dartford Railway Station.
For years, this wonderful heritage landscape has been hidden by industrial buildings but the creation of a new residential quarter on the site of the old GSK plant has given an opportunity to breathe new life into to this part if the town’s waterway and it’s a chance that Dartford’s Conservative Council want’s to grab with both hands.
The Conservative group has pledged support for the creation of a new creekside masterplan designed to encourage more visitors …. and more boats … to this wonderful town-centre gem.
Town Councillor Chris Shippam who was instrumental in the work to restore Central Park to its Edwardian heyday says the two projects have a lot in common. ” I get the same sense of excitement and opportunity at Dartford Creek as I experienced at the beginning of the Central Park project. Then, we walked around a park that had been neglected for years and ideas sprung to us at almost ever corner – “a new bandstand here”, “a new cafe here” , “let’s get the skatepark built after others had spent so many years talking about it.”
Now, Chris says Dartford Creek is crying out for a similar and sensitive restoration. “I suppose there’s a certain irony that it’s the replacement of the old GSK factory with a new housing neighbourhood that’s now spurring on the improvement of a creek so important to trade but it means that town residents can look forward to well restored and beautiful place to visit. It’s important that we turn this into more than a museum-piece though – the Trust has worked hard to demonstrate that the creek can be an active waterway and we want to get behind that too. It’s not quite as simple as the Central Park projects because there are lots of other partners to work with – including the Environment Agency – but we’re determined to help the Trust develop its vision.”
Volunteers from the Dartford & Crayford Creek Restoration Trust have been working away on Dartford’s hidden river but we’ve now committed to support their vision to boost navigation and access by river to the heart of Dartford.
The Dartford and Crayford Creek Restoration Trust have a brilliant facebook page. Why not ‘climb aboard’ and give it a visit