Published: 06:00, 01 February 2020
| Updated: 11:32, 01 February 2020
A derelict eyesore that has long been a blot on the city landscape could be turned into an eye-catching multi-million pound trade park.
Designs show how the site, which originally formed part of the Southern Water sewage works, in Sturry Road, Canterbury, could be transformed into a car showroom, retail space, offices and industrial units.
Businesses are expected to start agreeing to move into the units now the UK has left EU with a deal, ending uncertainty for firms.
Ward councillor Alan Baldock has welcomed the plans, which are expected to create between 50 and 70 jobs.
“I have concerns about increasing traffic on the Sturry Road, which is busy and polluted,” the Labour leader said.
“I do understand the need for new business, so I’m broadly supportive and hope that it brings jobs for local people.
“There’s an opportunity there to fill up what has been a piece of derelict, unused land.”
The 3.5 acre site, owned by Sussex-based firm Glenbeigh Development Ltd, is being advertised for sale or rent by Rapleys.
It says the approved proposals are for six trade counter units with the potential for retail, adding that the “scheme is flexible allowing specific occupier requirements to be incorporated”.
The plot is also being advertised on the city council’s property website, although the authority says it is “not aware of any recent movement”.
Glenbeigh partner Chris Kelly said: “I’ve had lots of people say they’d like to proceed, but no one has been prepared to sign on the dotted line mainly as they’re sitting on their hands because of Brexit.
“We’d like to get on with building it as soon as we possibly can; we need about a quarter of it signed up before we’re ready to go.
“I would hope we’ll be there in maybe April or May.”
Plans to transform the wasteland have been in the pipeline for more than a decade.
Proposals for the trade park were first unveiled by Glenbeigh in 2009.
They were later given the go-ahead by Canterbury City Council chiefs, and a variety of successful bids were launched in 2012, 2015 and 2018.
Documents submitted by Glenbeigh predicted that paint, tile and beauty product distributors, machinery tool hire centres, auto centres and wine merchants could move into the trade units.
“It’s important for the city to get it done as soon as we can,” Mr Kelly continued.
“Seventy jobs will help the economy move.
“The investment needed would be about £6m and there will probably be about another £3m or £4m from the occupiers for the fitting out.”
The proposals also include a total 129 parking spaces.