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Developers turn sights on regeneration of Maidstone East Rail Station after council rejected out-of-town shopping centre at Newnham Court

By Alan Smith

They’re off!

Just days after Maidstone council rejected plans for an out-of-town shopping village at Newnham Court, a planning application has been submitted for a major redevelopment at Maidstone East Station.

A new rail station, commuter car park, a large supermarket, and smaller shops and restaurants are all part of a scheme submitted by Solum Regeneration.

A supermarket will be part of the redevelopment of Maidstone East

The proposals would take in all of the existing Maidstone East site and car park, and would also include the redundant Royal Mail Sorting Office in Sandling Road, and Cantium House – an office block just at the end of the station car park.

Cantium House is currently used by Kent Country Council, but is said to be surplus to its requirements.

In February this year, Savills, the agent acting for would-be Newnham Court developer Land Securities, had claimed that Royal Mail had taken the sorting office off the market and was going to reopen it.

That claim has now been disproved.

The scheme, for the area at the north end of Maidstone’s main shopping thoroughfare, Week Street, would seem to be in overall accord with Maidstone’s current regeneration policy as laid out in its draft Local Plan.

Other aspects include a new petrol filling station and a 580-space shoppers’ car park, along with necessary highway improvements.

The outline application seeks permission for an 8,296 square-metre food store – that’s over twice the size of the Waitrose that had been suggested at Newnham Court.

Other non-food retail stores would stretch over 4,364 square metres.

The planning application is not yet available on the borough council’s website, as it is still being registered, but a council spokesman said it would be online soon under the reference number 14/500483

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