STROOD is linked to Rochester by a bridge over the River Medway. Its small High Street has a broader choice of shops than Rochester’s, and B&Q, Argos and Matalan draw people from over the water. The houses in the centre are flat-fronted, late-Victorian terraces, which cost around £110,000 for three bedrooms and are attractive to first-time buyers. Close to the station there is a surge of Fifties’ housing where a three-bedroom home would also cost around £110,000. In the more sedate Thirties’ developments near the fringes of the town, a three-bedroom house would cost around £145,000.
The area is popular for boating. Further out along the Medway estuary, the marina at Upnor throngs with hundreds of craft. Developers have catered for the sailors’ needs by providing small town houses, costing around £235,000, and semis along the riverbank. The main street is pretty, with old weatherboarded houses. Upnor Castle, now a museum, was built in the mid-16th century to defend Chatham dockyard. The Isle of Grain, which thrusts out like a hammerhead over the mouth of the estuary, bristles with oil terminals and refineries. It is one of the fastest growing container ports in the country. British Gas has 900 acres of land earmarked for future industrial development.