A GROUP of Gravesend Market traders have spoken out against plans for the Heritage Quarter.

Developer Edinburgh House published its latest proposals in September to spend £120 million regenerating the Western Quarter, Eastern Quarter and St Andrew’s Gardens while creating 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 include a multi-purpose Market Square, children’s play areas and a community centre.

But stall holders at Gravesend Market are far from happy with the plans and say they will be writing to councillors to oppose them.

Pet Supplies owner Janet Aspinall said: "The Edinburgh House application will do nothing to sustain, let alone regenerate this part of Gravesend and we need a plan for the whole town.

"The small businesses in the Eastern Quarter will suffer because we would be deprived of parking for our customers.

"It is all about forcing shoppers to park, and therefore shop, in the St George’s Centre, which just happens to be owned by Edinburgh House.

"Until a more positive proposal comes up, we will continue to oppose this development."

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.

News Shopper: Heritage Quarter

How St George's Square would look in the new Heritage Quarter 

Edinburgh House response 

Gravesend Development Manager Richard Hughes said: "After months of research into the economic viability of the scheme it is our belief that the Heritage Quarter development will bring £8m a year of additional spending to Gravesend town centre.

"The plans for the Eastern Quarter will see all car parking spaces remain (underground) and the creation of better public transport including the area around the bus stop on Crooked Lane and pedestrian crossings linking the Eastern Quarter to the river.

"The Heritage Quarter is designed in response the council’s request to improve the whole of the area in the north of the town centre, including the indoor market.

"The improvements made through the development will see additional footfall in the town and act as a catalyst for other investment.

"During the past few months we have spoken with retailers from across the town including the indoor market and invited them to our exhibitions as well as holding public events for people to come along to, meet us, ask questions and learn about the designs.

"Eighty-six per cent of the people we have spoken to support the designs.

"We are more than happy to meet with the market traders and discuss the designs with them and answer any questions they may have."