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A Marston's family pub is no longer part of plans for the Neats Court retail park in Queenborough

By Lewis Dyson

Plans for a family pub have been dropped from the Neats Court retail development.

Brewer Marston’s had been confirmed as a tenant for the Queenborough site but it will no longer be appearing.

In its place, LXB Retail Properties, the developer behind the project, is planning to create space for smaller restaurants and leisure units, such as coffee shops.

Work being carried out at Neats Court.
Work being carried out at Neats Court.

It has submitted an application for these new stores to Swale council’s planning department, which it is calling “phase 2C”.

Work on the second phase of the £30m development is now underway.

So far the four names confirmed are: Sports Direct, Poundland, home furnishings chain B&M Stores and Iceland.

The park is planned to open in October and start trading by November.

Pets at Home, which had been announced as coming on board in November, is no longer committed.

LXB spokesman Giles Haywood said they will not be looking to bring in any new businesses before the current four open.

He said: “We are going to see what happens really once they open. I think they will be really busy and trade very well and off the back of that there should be interest to let the remaining few units.

“Generally, we are pleased with the ones we have. They are good, national retailers, they do not conflict with the town centre at all.

“Iceland said they are going to keep both stores open because they feel there is enough business on the Island.

“The contractors are making progress now. The building conditions are good after some setbacks with the poor weather at the start of the year.”

Phil Chislett, manager of the nearby Aviator pub, believes major retailers will wait until after the opening of the second phase.

He said: “They [Marston’s] opened one in Maidstone and they’ve got one in Sittingbourne so I don’t think they’ll come on until they know the footfall.

“Maybe Wetherspoon coming along put them off a bit as well but you could also argue it brings more people to the area.

“From our point of view, we will carry on regardless. I have been here seven years now and as a manager all you can do is crack on.”

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