Plans to build a new Aldi supermarket on the King’s Road car park site have finally been submitted to Canterbury City Council, paving the way for the £50 million regeneration of Herne Bay. Developer Coplan Estates lodged the application on Tuesday this week after first announcing the plans in October last year. But they had to wait while the Saturday market was moved into its new home in Mortimer Street and William Street. Coplan director Colin McQueston said:
“I’m delighted we have now reached this point. This has taken a long time to get to. We are now hoping for a planning decision by the end of August. We can then target phase one to begin by the end of this year.”
The first phase of the regeneration masterplan will be to build the Aldi supermarket, which will become the anchor for the second phase to redevelop the William Street car park. Coplan hopes to build a new town centre plaza with major high street chains opening in the new shops and cafes. Mr McQueston added:
“We are now working on phase two. We hope to submit a planning application in six to eight months.”
Plans for the regeneration project first emerged in October 2010, with the council pinning its hopes on Morrisons expanding onto the King’s Road site. It hit a setback when Morrison’s withdrew from the plans. Aldi stepped in to keep the project alive in October 2013. But last month fears were raised by community campaigner Phil Rose when workmen were seen carrying out tests on the soil below the car park. The site used to be a gas works, so there were fears Aldi might pull out. Coplan and Aldi denied there were problems, and added that the workmen were carrying out tests for the future foundations of the store. Cllr Peter Lee (Con), who is the council cabinet member responsible for regenerating Herne Bay, said:
“It’s definitely a good step forward. If the application is granted it will expand the choice people have to come and do their food shopping in Herne Bay. It should encourage more people to come into the town centre, and if we can increase footfall, then everyone will benefit.”
In our online poll, 92% said they would like to shop at Aldi if one was built in Herne Bay.
Herne Bay Gazette, June 12th 2014