Tesco development for Lowfield Street in Dartford town centre approved at fourth attempt
Plans to transform Dartford town centre - which have been 11 years in the making - have finally been approved.
Councillors made the crucial decision last night to give the go ahead to Tesco's development plans for Lowfield Street in the town.
The latest suggestion – a scaled-back version of plans already approved – was submitted earlier this summer.
Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con), leader of Dartford council, said before the meeting: “I believe this is the one to bring Lowfield Street back on its feet.”
Over more than a decade, Tesco has put forward three applications for the area. The first two failed and the supermarket pulled out of its last one in 2012.
Cllr Kite continued: “I can’t say it’s been a happy experience but, if you look around, Tesco is pulling out of various projects across the country while remaining committed to Dartford.
“We have to make sure that, now we have an application most people are happy with, there are no further interruptions to getting it started quickly.”
Usually an application of this size, with nearly 8,000 square metres of retail floor space and 107 homes proposed, is given a deadline of between three and five years for work to start.
But, because of the development’s chequered past, councillors are being urged to flex their muscles and demand that work begins within a year.
The application was expected to be considered some time in the autumn, but officers prioritised the matter so it could be considered at the earliest opportunity.
Cllr Kite added: “We wanted to decide on this application as soon as possible but wanted to avoid August, as people are often away.
“I really believe this will be good for Dartford. At the moment Lowfield Street is a blight on our town” - Council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite
“It’s important this decision is as transparent as possible and we wanted to do everything we could to allow people to have their say.
“We’ve had very little feedback from it so far and, based on the conversations I’ve had with people, that is really because people are tired of it all now and just want Tesco to get on and build it.
“I really believe this will be good for Dartford. At the moment Lowfield Street is a blight on our town.”
Six people objected to the proposal. One person wrote to the council in favour.
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