The ambition for the ‘Command of the Heights’ project was to restore and enhance Fort Amherst, as a space of historic significance, with a strong vision for the future, and to inject new lifeblood into the area by engaging people from all walks of life to help shape the future of the site.
The Command of the Heights initiative groups together four projects at the southern end of the historic Great Lines defensive fortifications constructed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to protect Chatham Dockyard. These include the removal of an early C20 building (Riverside One), constructed as a Shell Store within the lower end of the Barrier Ditch and later used as Council Offices (now redundant), and repair of the brick faced ditch revetment walls. Link the reinstated ditch to the existing riverside public landscaping with new interpretive landscaping. Improve the visitor entry route to Fort Amherst via the Barrier Road Ditch and through this, to enable appreciation of the vast scale and purpose of the fortifications in their entirety. Repair, enhance and re-open the presently inaccessible Spur Battery and its environs in conjunction with providing an external performance venue, and converting the casemates to backstage facilities and ticket/refreshment sales.
Castria was responsible for appointing and managing the full project Design Team and all other consultants necessary to deliver the project. The team includes conservation architects, structural and civil engineers, QS, M&E engineers, landscape architects, archaeologists, and ecologists.Other members of the team directly appointed by Medway Council and Fort Amherst Trust include business planners, activity planners and an interpretation specialist. Castria was also responsible for organising and delivering community consultation through presentations at local schools, and the Riverside Festival.
Work commenced with detailed research of historic documentation (maps, drawings and photographs), the production of a Conservation Management Plan, consultations with the Council, Trust and other users, and detailed condition surveys of the fortifications. Intrusive opening up work was also carried out following the approval of Scheduled Monument Consent applications to establish the extentof damage to walls, and the survival of historic surfaces and structures below ground.The ambition for the ‘Command of the Heights’ project was to restore and enhance Fort Amherst, as a space of historic significance, with a strong vision for the future, and to inject new lifeblood into the area by engaging people from all walks of life to help shape the future of the site.