Home ... Herne Bay ... Supermarket deal will bring £2m to the town

Supermarket deal will bring £2m to the town

Sainsbury’s promises cash injection and new bridge

CHANGE: Sainsbury’s bosses have pledged cash to improve the Bay
CHANGE: Sainsbury’s bosses have pledged cash to improve the Bay

HERNE Bay will get a cash injection of almost £2 million — plus a new Blacksole bridge — if planners allow a supermarket to be built at Altira. Sainsbury’s bosses have pledged the money as part of negotiations over the planning application for a new store at Altira Park, near Beltinge. The development would include a petrol station, cafe, new business units and parking as well as the giant superstore, and would create hundreds of jobs. Business leaders said the money represented a real opportunity to turn the town around. Nigel Hancock, of the Bay Independent Retail Group, said:

“Some call it reparation but even if it is only because they have no choice, there is the opportunity for the developers to put something back into the
community.”

Substantial

“There is a substantial amount of money that is now ring-fenced for Herne Bay. I really want to make sure that we are in a position where we can actually help to support regeneration and grow the retail sector in the town.”

SUPPORT: Nigel Hancock
SUPPORT: Nigel Hancock

Details of the amounts – increased from £600,000 when the store was first proposed — have now been agreed with council officials but no money will be handed over until planning permission for the development is granted. Some will be spent immediately, while other parts of the developer agreement funds are conditional on the store being open. At the independent retail group’s last meeting on Thursday, Mr Hancock said there were several options. He said:

“Nothing is confirmed but I like the idea of a business hub that could provide meeting space, support and information and work with schools to get more young people interested in retail as a worthwhile career. But we do need to keep an eye on it because I am worried it could end up in an account in Military Road and it will dissipate. We need to have some say on how the money is used.”

Part of the fund is earmarked for subsidising parking and it is likely that William Street car park will be free for two years. There would also be better signs to car parks and around town, grants for individual bus messes and a marketing plan for the town. A new pedestrian and cycle bridge at Blacksole bridge would be built before the store opens, and there would also be a bus service between Altira Park and the town centre at least once an hour, seven days a week. Herne Bay Town Partners are already involved in discussions about the money and town councillor Andrew Cook said it should be the start of a new direction for residents and traders. He said:

“We need some accumulation, one thing happening after another, until people in London hear about Herne Bay, not Whitstable.”

A decision on the planning application is expected by the end of July.

Herne Bay Times, May 28th 2014

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