Exciting plans for the future development and regeneration of the Kingsmead area of Canterbury have been published by the council.
Regeneration of the area has been a long-held council ambition, and now, working with the Harvest Partnership (a joint venture between Sainsbury’s and Land Securities), the next stage of proposals are taking shape.
The main aspects to the project are:
- A new approximately 10,000 square metre Sainsbury’s store, with a petrol station, on the site of the current Serco depot and former coach park
- Conversion of the existing Sainsbury’s store into a multiplex cinema with new food and drink outlets
- Extensive refurbishment of Kingsmead Leisure Centre with up to £5.5 million of council investment
The proposals were reported to meetings of the council’s Overview Committee on Wednesday 22 January and Executive on Thursday 23 January, where councillors agreed to start detailed negotiations with the developers.
You can read the committee report to find out more about this.
New Sainsbury's store/cinema and food and drink outlets
The proposal is for a new Sainsbury’s store on the site of the current Serco depot and former Kingsmead coach park, pictured below.
Subject to planning permission, the approximately 10,000 square metre store would be based on stilts above car parking, with further surface car parking. There would also be a petrol station and a retail concession space.
On the current Sainsbury’s site, pictured below, the proposal is for a multiplex cinema with new food and drink outlets and car parking.
Also included in the plans are improvements to roads and public areas in Sturry Road and Kingsmead Road and provision of open space.
Refurbishment of Kingsmead Leisure Centre
Kingsmead Leisure Centre, pictured below, is the main public leisure centre for Canterbury and is in need of considerable refurbishment.
The council has up to £5.5 million of funding available to do this work. There would be consultation with users of the leisure centre on what sort of improvements and any new facilities they would like to see.
The aim would be to do the work in phases and keep the centre open throughout to minimise disruption.
Other elements of Kingsmead regeneration
At a meeting of the Executive on Thursday 6 February, council leader Cllr John Gilbey made the following announcement about the future of the Kingsmead field:
"I have already announced that the council will, over the coming weeks, hold discussions with local residents and the campaign group about the level of protection the Kingsmead Field should be given in view of the village green application, representations to designate a local green space within the Local Plan and options for its management in the future.
"All of the issues about the field’s future would then be presented for discussion and decision at relevant committee meetings with the proper backing of comprehensive reports. It is very important that this process is properly conducted and carefully followed.
"With the excellent news that we have negotiated heads of terms agreement for the redevelopment of the old coach park/depot site and the current Sainsbury’s store, as leader of the council and portfolio holder, I announced that I would be asking the Executive this week to agree that we do not proceed with the proposed development of Kingsmead Field. I have spoken with members of the Executive informally and there is broad but not unanimous agreement on this proposal and we have to now work through the process of making formal decisions in public.
"There are two issues that arose in these discussions: firstly that this decision would result in the loss of a significant capital receipt at a time when our capital spending plans are being diminished and secondly that the village green application covers only part of the field. These issues must be carefully examined and aired as part of the proposed discussions and public debate.
"Our commitment to deliver the same quantity of open space across the Kingsmead area at the end of the development as was publicly accessible at the start still stands.
"The council will be asked to make a decision based on all available facts and figures but at this moment some of the financial information must remain confidential as it involves third parties."
The Coldharbour flats is a block of council-owned flats located next to the roundabout at the junction of Sturry Road and Kingsmead Road. They form part of the proposed development area for the new Sainsbury’s store, but are dated and look tired.
East Kent Housing is working closely with the tenants of the flats. Each has been visited to keep them informed about the project and discuss their individual situation. All Coldharbour tenants would be given priority on the housing register and a choice about where they move to.
Indicative development timetable
- Development agreement - June 2014
- Planning application - December 2014
- Planning permission - June 2015
- Start development - January 2016
- Practical completion (store) - June 2017
- Practical completion (cinema and restaurants) - December 2018