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Business park plans slammed by traders

RESIDENTS and business owners turned up in force to show their objection to the plans of the proposed extension to a Whitstable business park. The meeting, which took place in the Methodist Church in Argyle Road last Monday, was called by the Whitstable District Chamber of Commerce to look at the plans for the retail development at Estuary View Business Park, off the Thanet Way. Chamber president Brian Hitcham opened the meeting saying:

“We have some difficulty with this particular development in this particular location. We already have a Tesco and Sainsbury’s store out of town, as well as two Co-ops, a Morrisons, an Iceland and a Budgens in Whitstable. Planning permission has also been granted for a Sainsbury’s store and an Aldi supermarket in Herne Bay. This suggests that the development at Estuary View is not essential for the town. The proposed retail stores are a superb combination, and maybe if they were going to replace some of the supermarkets we already have in the town that would be great, but it’s not something that we actually need in the town. A lot of the small independent retailers could be impacted.”

Mr Hitcham said national statistics show that, at peak times, a large food retailer has an average of 500 car movements in an hour. Using these statistics, resident Mike Shaw produced a traffic report of the site which shows that around 4,800 traffic movements will happen at the retail section over a 12-hour period, and at the health care section around 8,000 traffic movements will take place from 10am until 6pm each day. Mr Hitcham said:

“These figures do not take into account the existing traffic levels around the Estuary View site.”

CONCERNS: Rita O’Brien
Rita O’Brien

Rita O’Brien, the proposed Labour candidate for Whitstable, raised her concerns about the fact that there will be vulnerable people in the community hospital or care unit, which wifi be located close to the large retail stores, if the application is granted. She said:

“The juxtaposition of the two seems slightly odd. It feels like a marriage of convenience, rather than a careful look of where we would like to put a community hospital or a care unit for people with severe dementia.”

But developer George Wilson, whose company is working with Kimberley Developments on the scheme, questioned the attendees of the meeting, asking:

EXPANSION: George Wilson
EXPANSION: George Wilson

“What would be wrong with having a one-stop-shop medical centre in town, where you can walk in at 9am and come out at 5pm and know what is wrong with you?”

He said:

“The only way you could do that is by expanding the site and having extra facilities and consultants. By doing this, I believe Estuary View in three years’ time will be one of the big six medical centres in east Kent.”

One resident, who spoke for the proposals, said not every person in Whitstable does their weekly shopping in the town. He said:

“Some residents, like myself, go to supermarkets outside of Whitstable for their main shop and then buy specialist produce from the smaller independent retailers in town. So instead of people driving all the way to Canterbury to do their major weekly shop, they can stop off at Estuary View. The town won’t be affected in this way.”

Another public meeting is expected to be held in the coming weeks to discuss the submitted application, which will be finalised in around 16 weeks’ time.

Herne Bay Gazette, November 19th 2014

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