CROSSWAYS BUSINESS PARK: INNOVATION IN REGENERATION
There have been many cement works in North Kent over the last two centuries, and many of them were in and around the area now known as Crossways Business Park.
Crossways Business Park is now a successful business environment for both offices and distribution production companies which employ over 4,000 people but it wasn't always the case.
CEMENT PRODUCTION ON STONE MARSHES
In 1866 the Ordinance Survey map shows the area including Crossways to be mainly rural. Indeed, there were two farms, Cotton Farm and Dairy Farm and on later maps watercress beds which show that the land was marshy and only suitable for minimal farming.
However, in the next two years considerable changes happened. It was revealed that there were considerable chalk deposits beneath Crossways and the surrounding areas. Four cement works were constructed in the area, Artillery Cement Works, Albion, Shield and Greenhithe all built on the banks of the Thames and all linked by tramways. To support these cement works cottages and a whiting works were also built and linked by tramway. This increase in industry lead to considerable residential development around the village of Stone. Dairy Farm soon became a brewery!
Manufacture of chalk continued until the 1930s when all four cement works were demolished and the tramways taken up. A new cement works was built between 1919 and 1921, Portland Cement Works which was extended between 1937 and 1938. Settlement ponds, lagoons and clay pits associated with the new works were formed.
During 1940s until the late 1970s most of the industrial areas progressively became redundant and reverted to derelict marshland. The Kent Cement Works was finally demolished during the late 1970s and the remaining tramways were removed. The whiting works changed hands and became known as Dalton Works and manufactured heavy metal fabrication. During the mid 1970s Cotton Farm was demolished.
REDEVELOPMENT OF STONE MARSHES
Reclamation of the land which is now Crossways began again in 1979. During 1985 the construction of the first roads on the site were completed and this gave access to a new ferry terminal (Thames Europort).
In 1988 the first phase of Crossways, Masthead, was completed and in
1988/9 the ASDA warehouse was finished. Now Crossways comprises of five
business areas :- Masthead, Newtons Court, Edisons Park, Admirals Park
and Charles Park. It has two hotels and a public house with further facilities
planned. All the companies on the business park enjoy a highly landscaped
park environment with lakes and seating areas which is a considerable
change to its past.