Published: 12:30, 01 August 2017
The owner of a shopping centre is hoping to push ahead with plans for an extensive redevelopment.
U+I Group runs Swanley Square Shopping Centre and has submitted a planning application to complement the popular destination with nearby homes, new stores, commercial space, and a multi-storey car park.
It will complement Sevenoaks council’s Master Vision for Swanley and Hextable, which is still on the cards despite angry locals successfully shooting down its showpiece 3,000 home garden village back in February.
More than 2,000 people signed a petition to block the proposal, but council leader Cllr Peter Fleming said at the time that he remained committed to “helping Swanley and Hextable realise its full potential going into the future”.
U+I Group’s application seeks permission for 210 homes across three buildings between three and 13 storeys, with more than 15,600 sq ft of retail and commercial floor space, and a multi-storey car park.
“U+I’s objective is for the regeneration of the town centre to be a catalyst for socioeconomic improvement, which in turn will begin to generate civic pride and responsibility in Swanley..." - U+I planning application
Another four new buildings would comprise of up to 93 homes, up to 31,000 sq ft of commercial floor space, and up to 10,300 sq ft of community floor space.
The application states: “As owners of the Swanley Square Shopping Centre, U+I see a fantastic opportunity to drive change in Swanley.
“U+I’s objective is for the regeneration of the town centre to be a catalyst for socioeconomic improvement, which in turn will begin to generate civic pride and responsibility in Swanley.
“This will be achieved by the creation of a new residential community, as well as more retail and leisure opportunities within a vastly improved public realm.
“This will increase dwell times that will benefit local businesses. High quality architecture will also help create a sense of civic pride.”
While the garden village was subject to plenty of opposition since the council first outlined its vision more than a year ago, greater investment in the town centre has proved more popular.
The council believes independent shops, well-known brands, and the huge Asda supermarket would all benefit from the increased footfall development would bring.
Other elements of the wider master vision include the possibility of a new health centre, improving transport links, and relocating the railway station.
The council is expected to respond to U+I Group’s application in October.
This article originally referred to U+I Group’s application as part of Sevenoaks council's Master Vision - it is separate.
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