Fallen glass at Mountbatten House, Chatham, delays redevelopment

17 October 2023In Chatham2 Minutes
Boarded-up windows at the top of Mountbatten House

Work to turn a 12-storey office block into flats in Chatham is facing delays after an incident.

A ‘large shard of glass’ fell from a window on the tenth floor of Mountbatten House, above the Pentagon Centre, onto a privately-accessed area below.

The incident happened on 7 June this year, according to a report seen by Future Medway that was due to be discussed by Medway Council’s Cabinet in August, but was postponed.

The windows that are believed to be involved in the incident

The office block, bought by the council for just under £2 million in 2021, is set to become 164 flats, with the council’s housing firm Medway Development Company (MDC) delivering the scheme.

Tonbridge-based Invicta Building Services was involved in the incident, after securing a contract to remove heavy plant from the building.

Following an investigation by MDC, Invicta Building Services then decided to withdraw from the contract.

It is understood that the council will procure a new firm to carry out the heavy plant removal, which was due for completion this autumn.

A CGI showing how Mountbatten House could look after redevelopment. Photo: Lyall Bills & Young Architects and C.F. Møller

The incident is not the first to occur at an MDC building site.

Nearby on Whiffens Avenue, where MDC is creating 115 flats, a labourer was flown to hospital with life-threatening injuries after he fell from scaffolding in July.

Since both incidents, the council has shaken up MDC’s governance model under the new Labour-run administration.

Councillors will no longer be directors of MDC, having been replaced by independent directors.

A new shareholder board will also be established, in the form of a Cabinet sub-committee, to represent the council as MDC’s shareholder.

Under the previous structure, Cllr Howard Doe (Con) and Cllr Adrian Gulvin (Con) were MDC directors – both resigned from the firm in May, according to Companies House.

The changes were made as the council believed that directors should be appointed on the basis of ‘sector relevant, skills, knowledge and experience’, as opposed to holding political office.

Medway Development Company and Invicta Building Services did not respond to a request for comment.