‘We need Heritage Quarter plans now’
Traders in Gravesend have signed a petition
supporting plans for the Heritage Quarter.
Designs are due to go before
council planners within the next few weeks with hopes that work on
the £120 million scheme will begin some time next year.
In the face of opposition from
civic groups Urban Gravesham and Gravesham Heritage Association,
eight businesses have put pen to paper to support the
They include Robert Atkinson,
pictured, from Stamps and Hobbies in the High Street, which has
traded for 46 years. Not entirely happy with the plans, he admits
something needs to change.
The 61-year-old said: "We do
need regeneration. If it doesn’t happen it’s just going to keep
rumbling on and on and we’ll continue to suffer.
"I think the plan should be open
for more discussion but we really need to keep pushing forward with
it. The decline in the town is most certain – from out of town
shopping to the internet.
"If you haven’t got people
coming in, there’s empty shops and that isn’t very attractive – and
when it starts looking like that, you’ve got more people deciding
not to come back."
Plans to be considered by
Gravesham council from developers Edinburgh House include
underground car parks, new shops in an extended St George’s Centre,
a hotel, homes, offices and community spaces.
Another of those supporting the
plans is Julia Lomax, from St George’s Flowers.
The 41-year-old said: "I think
it’s quite obvious that the area is becoming run down and the only
way we’re going to get the town back is through
"I know that a lot of the older
generation have a problem with the plans but I think we need to let
the younger generation get on with it."
She added: "It will bring more
people into the town and bring more shops – which is what is
keeping people away. My cousin had this place before me for about
five years and if you look back through the books you can just see
the decline over the years."
Her signature is joined by
representatives of Bennett and Brown in Windmill Street, The Bike
Shop in Windmill Street, Mohan Building Services in Manor Road,
Star Carpets in Parrock Street, The Egg Free Cake Box in Milton
Road and Tower Plumbing in Berkley Crescent.
- Click here for more Gravesend news...
- Click here for more news from across the county...