Two major supermarket developments getting started this spring
WORK is finally due to start on two supermarket developments in Herne Bay. It is anticipated that the construction of an Aldi store will start next month on the site of the King’s Road car park, while Sainsbury’s is looking at a May start date for its development at Altira Park on the outskirts of town. Canterbury City Council had resolved in October to grant planning permission for a Sainsbury’s store and petrol station and eight industrial units, and this has now been formally issued after the completion of legal agreements. It was granted on condition developer Terrace Hill builds a new pedestrian and cycle bridge at Blacksole Bridge. Also included in the package is an extended and more frequent bus service between the planned store and the town; a commitment to provide more than £500,000 to support local businesses and promote the town centre; and the earmarking of £2.2 million towards upgrading the town centre, including new signs and free parking for two years. A Terrace Hill spokesman said:
“As well as providing new jobs, more shopping choice for local people and kick-starting the development of Altira Park, the development will also provide a significant package of investment.”
The Aldi store, meanwhile, was also granted planning permission last autumn. Now the proposals for the 1,665 square metre store, which will be built by Coplan Estates and front Hannover Street and Beach Street, should be just weeks away from reality. A total of 93 new jobs is predicted, while there will also be seven other retail units, 50 residential properties and 230 car-parking spaces.
Such developments are not always popular with some people saying that they drain trade from local, more established, businesses. In Herne Bay, however, there are few dissenting voices. Councillor Peter Lee, city councillor and chairman of the Herne Bay regeneration working group, said:
“I initially thought Sainsbury’s would be bad for the town centre, but the people in the town partnership were very welcoming of it as they saw it as an expansion of our retail offering. Sainsbury’s is a massive retail landmark for Herne Bay and it will put money in the public realm, into the town centre. Only 30 per cent of the money — wages and that sort of thing — that comes into Herne Bay stays in Herne Bay. Developments like this should change that.”
Michael Khoury, of the Herne Bay Chamber of Commerce, said this week of the Aldi news:
“It will probably give Morrisons a kick up the backside and I’m sure they will do something in response. It’s competition and we always welcome that.”
Another Herne Bay councillor, Andrew Cook, was similarly enthusiastic about the news of start dates for the new supermarkets.
“It’s all new activity for the town,” he said. “And anything that brings new activity is always a good thing.”
Herne Bay Times, March 11th 2015