MASSIVE plans to revamp a huge part of Gravesend town centre have been published this week.
Developer Edinburgh House has revealed its latest proposals to spend £120 million regenerating three central areas in a bid to create 800 jobs, 330 homes and generate £8 million spending every year.
As well as restaurants, cafes a hotel and underground parking, the plans put forward a multi-purpose Market Square, children’s play areas and a community centre.
The plans are not the first submitted to Gravesham Council to improve the Heritage Quarter, which comprises the Western Quarter, Eastern Quarter and St Andrew’s Gardens.
In September 2010, the council’s regulatory board shot down a planning application from Edinburgh House on the basis the scheme was too big and not in-keeping with the town’s character and history.
But in the fresh designs, the developer says it has reduced the height of buildings and changed their looks to reflect the design of the area.
Reverend Canon Chris Stone of St George’s Church, which is at the centre of proposals for the Western Quarter, said: “We’ve probably got some way to go but the developers have taken on board many of the comments made by the church.
“The height levels have been stepped down significantly and the integrity of the church yard has been maintained.”
Urban Gravesham chairman Martin McKay added: “We haven’t seen the full plans yet to make a judgement. We’ve got to consult with the membership and discuss with the committee.”
The first regeneration plans were put forward by Edinburgh House in July 2008 and included a 33-storey tower.
A 7,000-signature petition was drawn up by Urban Gravesham in objection, forcing developers to submit a revised plan in November 2009.
But when this was considered by Gravesham Council in April 2010 it was decided the application still “needed work” as the buildings were too tall.
In July 2010 the revised plans - which saw no building taller than St George’s Church - were submitted, but two months later were again rejected for the same reasons.
Gravesham Council leader Councillor John Burden said: “I’d hope there is a better backing this time as the plans are significantly different to what they presented before.
“We’ve got some superb independent shops in the town centre but what we do need is that draw into the town and the big shops is what people want.”
The planning application will be submitted to the council in October and will be reviewed by the regulatory board next year.
· Six shops created at St George’s Shopping Centre
· Re-landscaped church gardens
· Church hall
· Realignment of Pocahontas monument
· 190 apartments
· Underground parking
· Toddlers play area
· Multi-facility community centre
· Creation of Market Square, boasting cafes and restaurants.
(The square will host outdoor markets, fairs and an ice rink at Christmas)
· 50-bedroom hotel
· 140 apartments
· Underground parking
St Andrew’s Gardens
· Re-landscaped upper and lower gardens
· Children’s play area
· Eco-garden comprising lawns, wetlands and wildflower grasslands
· Riverside walkway