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Shops, restaurants and a new supermarket destined for St Peter's Street, Maidstone

By Alan Smith

A new supermarket could be on the way after a planning inspector overruled the borough council.

A scheme for a large supermarket, shops, cafes and restaurants in St Peter’s Street beside the River Medway was approved by planning inspector John Gray.

The application, from Baltic Wharf, had been rejected by the council in January.

A public inquiry was held in April and the inspector has just announced his verdict.

Planning permission has been approved for the development of the Powerhub building on St Peter's Street
Planning permission has been approved for the development of the Powerhub building on St Peter's Street

A spokesman for Maidstone Borough Council said: “We are disappointed with the result and are looking to understand the inspector’s reasons, which appear to include a priority to find a viable use for the listed building.”

The development is centred around the Power Hub, formerly the Tilling-Stevens motor factory, built in 1917.

The building was listed Grade II in 2012 by English Heritage, after a request by Cllr David Pickett (Lib Dem) who hoped the listing would protect the building.

Although the proposals call for the demolition of parts of the building, the company argued: “They will ensure that uses can be accommodated within the listed building that generate sufficient value to make the necessary structural repairs, refurbishment and updating, and then the ongoing year-on-year maintenance works, affordable and retention of the building viable.”

However, the Green Party has slammed the inspector’s decision.

To deal with the extra traffic, the scheme involves creating another lane over St Peter’s Bridge, which will result in the loss of the only cycle lane over the river.

Green leader Stuart Jeffery said: “Cyclists have a tough time in Maidstone already, but we will soon be unable to cycle from one side of the town to the other without using an extremely busy and dangerous road.”

Kent Highways made no objection to the plan.

No specific retailer has yet been identified for the project.

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