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PLA's Gravesend Investment tops £10 million

The boat lift in operation at Denton Wharf (click on image to enlarge)
The boat lift in operation at Denton Wharf 
(click on image to enlarge)

The PLA has just completed the latest development project at its main Denton Wharf base in Gravesend, bringing the total invested at the site over the last ten years to more than £10 million.

Denton Wharf is the base for the PLA’s Marine Services operation which provides salvage, diving, mooring and navigation lights maintenance services along 95 miles of the tidal river from Teddington Lock in west London out to the estuary.  The latest £700,000 project involved the strengthening the quay wall and expanding the boat storage/working area.

The PLA acquired Denton Wharf as its marine services base in 1993. Since then its progressive programme of development has included rebuilding the jetty, installing a boat lift, building a new office, additional warehousing and shot blasting facility.  The base is used by other river companies for their boat maintenance alongside the core PLA work.

PLA’s director of marine operations, Peter Steen, explained about the work of facility, where 81 of the PLA’s 360 staff are based.  He said:

“The Thames is the UK’s second biggest port and also its busiest inland waterway, heavily used by both commercial and leisure vessels.  A busy river needs somewhere to lift out vessels for maintenance and to supply major development schemes.  Denton Wharf provides that base for the Thames as well as being our operational centre on the river for providing navigational safety support to everyone from rowers to RoRos from commuters to containerships. 

“The support we have provided to major development projects on the Thames from here includes providing moorings for the Blackfriars station development, loading out of monitoring buoys and support to dredging works for the new London Gateway container terminal scheme.  As always our divers have inspected wrecks in the estuary and worked with archaeologists on the recovery of historical artefacts.

“The completion of this latest work brings Denton Wharf to maximum capacity.  With the recruitment of extra deckhands it’s all part of our work to get ready for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Olympics which are set to bring even more activity to the river next year.”

The PLA is working with Gravesham Borough Council to develop plans for a ‘marine centre of excellence’, an area of marine focused activity, on the waterfront around Denton Wharf.

Gravesham Borough Council leader Cllr John Burden said:

“This is great news for local jobs, business and tourism. The river remains a vital part of the Gravesham economy and this investment by the PLA is just part of the growth along the Thames with the Lafarge/Crossrail development at Northfleet and the Town Pier scheme here in Gravesend.”

The PLA works to ensure navigational safety along the tidal Thames, promote use of the river and safeguard its unique marine environment.  The organisation shares its marine, environmental, planning and other expertise, working in partnership with people looking to use the river whether for trade, travel, recreation or pleasure.