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Canterbury Riverside project at Kingsmead moves a step closer

By Marijke Hall

Plans for one of the most transformative developments in the city centre for years have been submitted with new details of the bold scheme revealed.

Fresh images of the Canterbury Riverside project have also been unveiled, showing the eye-catching design which could change the future face of Kingsmead.

The move by developers Linkcity signals a huge step forward for the initiative, which has been in the making for more than a decade.

Eye-catching images of the new Canterbury Riverside project have been revealed.

Eye-catching images of the new Canterbury Riverside project have been revealed.

If approved by the city council, it will pave the way towards transforming the derelict former Serco depot and coach park at Kingsmead as well as the surrounding land.

The new plan is for a five or six screen cinema with around 900 seats, eight units for cafes, bars and restaurants, a small convenience store and two small shops and a public square.

There will be a new boat house and pontoon for canoes, as well as a canoe hire store, an extension of the riverside pathway and underground parking.

The development will also include 189 homes, the majority being  one and two-bedroom apartments, and 484 pupose-built student bedrooms.

If approved, there will be 160 jobs created, 80 of which will be full time.

New images of the new Canterbury Riverside project have been revealed.

New images of the new Canterbury Riverside project have been revealed.

The scheme is expected to transform the Kingsmead area of Canterbury, which includes the rundown Coldharbour flats on the corner of Sturry Road.

Chairman of the council's regeneration and property committee, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, says bringing the area back to life is a priority.

“It has been run down for some time and an eyesore for people living nearby,” he said.

“We want to repay their patience by making it vibrant once again, so it’s great to have reached this important milestone of the planning application being submitted.

“The project stretches back to the original Kingsmead development brief of 2004, and since then we have worked really hard to get to this point.

"We want to repay people's patience by making it vibrant once again, so it’s great to have reached this important milestone of the planning application being submitted..." - Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, Canterbury City Council

“There has been lots of pre-planning public consultation in the last couple of years as the plans have been put together and we know there is plenty of support for the project.”

He says, if given planning permission, it will represent a brilliant opportunity to attract visitors and shoppers and persuade them to stay in the city for longer.

“Businesses in Northgate should really benefit too, as footfall between Canterbury Riverside and the city centre is likely to be high,” he said.

It is also hoped the development will put an end to people travelling out of the city to cinemas at Westwood Cross, Ashford and Maidstone.

At the moment, we only retain 39% of the potential cinema audience,” Cllr Fitter-Harding added.

The council is remaining tight-lipped over the timescale for the project, stating the application will now work its way through the normal planning process.

Hoardings are due to be put up around the site as demolition crews prepare to pull down some of the existing buildings for public safety reasons.

The council says the work is required regardless of the outcome of the planning process.

To view the planning application and make a comment go to www.canterbury.gov.uk/planning and search for reference 17/02092.

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