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Plan for homes over new Sainsbury’s store


SOME 350 flats could be built on top of a new-look Sainsbury’s as part of an ambitious £100m plan to breathe new life into The Mall shopping centre. However, co-owner Capital & Regional is unlikely to overhaul Maidstone town centre site if plan- ning permission is granted for Newnham Court to expand off M20 Junction 7. Its proposal for The Mall in- cludes:  flagship department store at Gabriel’s Hill, on the former Gala Bingo site, next to a fashion store;  350 flats in separate blocks of six storeys and higher above a re- built, reconfigured and larger Sainsbury’s, with more than 1,000 supermarket parking spaces be- neath the store;  leisure area to the east of the shopping centre, containing restaurants and possibly a 12- screen cinema;  improvements to existing ceil- ings, floorings, entrances, lobbies and toilets;  creation of up to 300,000sqft of


extra shopping space;  newly-located bus station. Mark Bourgeois, executive di-


rector at Capital & Regional, said: “The confi- dence has re- turned to Maidstone town centre and people in Maidstone de- serve this sort of develop- ment. This is deliverable


Mark Bourgeois


and viable; there is a demand for it.


“But if Newnham Court went ahead, it would put a serious ob- stacle in the way of the delivery of this site. There is a certain amount of retail capacity that Maidstone needs; if Newnham Court goes ahead the capacity will go else- where.” A study by DTZ says there is a requirement for 300,000sqft of ad- ditional retail space in Maidstone by 2023. This figure would be met by The Mall project, but be ex-


ceeded by Newnham Court’s pro- posal, which measures 450,000sq ft andwould include aWaitrose and Debenham’s. Bill Moss, town centre manager,


said: “If Maidstone Council says ‘yes’ to the Newnham Court scheme, then the one for The Mall dies. It is either or.” Capital & Regional hopes the Newnham Court applica- tion is turned down soon, so the first stage of the ear- marked Mall improv e- ments: new ceilings, floors and lighting, can begin by the end of the year. The company also wanted feed-


Bill Moss


back from the public before decid- ing the detail of the other proposals. Legal & Generalwould deliver the scheme with three other landowners, including Sainsbury’s and Gala.


downsmail.co.uk Residents


‘back idea’ CAPITAL & Regional says there is “overwhelming sup- port” from local people for its plans for The Mall in Maid- stone.


Almost 800 people attended


a public exhibition outlining the landowner’s £100m plan for the town centre shopping centre.


Capital and Regional claims


that 97% of local people who completed feedback forms support the principle of trans- forming Maidstone town cen- tre, with 90% backing its vision for the future. The proposal is on display


in Unit 364/365, opposite Opti- cal Express in The Mall, and available to access online at www.themall.co.uk/my- mall/Maidstone. People with any further questions about the proposal can email transformingmaid- stone@live.co.uk.


More local news online www.downsmail.co.uk


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