In the early 2000s, Dartford Borough Council decided to regenerate a 264 acre brownfield site that was originally called Dartford Park and subsequently become known as The Bridge. The Council wanted to create a new, environmentally-friendly community, where people could live, work, send their children to school and enjoy their leisure time. To bring this aspiration to life, it needed to select a private sector partner with the expertise and staying power to transform a derelict, overgrown site into a new neighbourhood for Dartford: the Council chose Prologis.
“It was really important to get the right developer on board,” said Graham Harris, Managing Director of Dartford Borough Council. “We wanted to work with a company that shared our vision and was prepared to stick with us for the long-term.”
Now 15 years later, The Bridge is almost complete. We have worked closely with the Council and housing developers Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon to create a development that offers over 1,500 new homes, skilled jobs, the Fastrack public transport system, schools, community facilities and 80 acres of public open space. All the different elements of the development have blended together as we intended and the key to success was careful masterplanning. As Graham Harris said: “This is a complex development, so every aspect had to be integrated from day one.”
New Opportunities with SEM
A significant factor in this mix was the Council’s aim to attract knowledge-based industries that would bring high value jobs to Dartford. One of these companies is SEM, which moved from Orpington to a bespoke 122,500 square foot headquarters at The Bridge. A high technology manufacturer that designs and produces electric motors for motion control industry sectors, SEM has brought both jobs and training opportunities to Dartford. However, it also provides an insight into how the various strands of The Bridge work together for the benefit of the wider community.