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Herne Bay sea front development

A TV bad guy is shrugging off his image to develop a positive project to regenerate Herne Bay. Actor Bill Murray, who played Johnny Allen in EastEnders, is
poised to submit plans to provide a link from the town centre to the
seafront, opening up views of the historic clocktower.

The star owns properties along Central Parade and plans
to demolish one, number 73 – a boarded up arcade – and build shops,
flats and townhouses behind it. He told the Times:

“The
development is to expose the clocktower and create something to really
improve that whole area. It means demolishing the property in front of
it and losing
some of the public car park but the result will be a new shopping area
that people can enjoy.”

Mr Murray’s company, Beach Street Associates, is working with
Clague architects on the scheme, for Beach Street, and the proposals
have been discussed with Canterbury City Council officials.

A formal planning application is due to be submitted shortly and a
land swap deal is close to being agreed, where Canterbury City Council
would gift part of their land, used as a car park, for the scheme.
Funding would come from Mr Murray and his company. Architect Geoff Mitchell said:

“It
would open a pedestrian link
between Beach Street and the clocktower, which is a really strategic
movement for the town. The glimpse of the clocktower will draw people
along through and hopefully create a space people can enjoy. It will
revitalise the bottom end of Mortimer Street and Central Parade.”

Under the proposals, Beach Alley would not be affected but buildings bordering it would be redeveloped. Mr Mitchell added:

“It could be an arts quarter for Herne Bay,
with a real cafe culture feel, and we have already spoken to the Arts
Council about their involvement. The idea is that people will be happy to sit there and meet
there, with very few cars and lots of space for pedestrians to enjoy.”

He
said the team was hopeful the development would give plans for the rest
of the town centre a boost. These plans stalled after Morrisons pulled
out of building a new store, and no other investors were found. Mr
Mitchell said:

“This will create the momentum for
regeneration of the rest of the town. It will give people confidence. It
just has to start and people will see we are investing in Herne Bay and
they will follow.”

thisiskent 16th Mar 2013

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  1. Seems a good idea to me, although I hope that there is enough parking left.