Published: 13:00, 01 March 2013
An artist's impression of the Tesco at the Herne Bay Golf Club development
by Chris Price
The man behind plans for a £23m development on the former golf club site has dubbed it the “single biggest community investment in Herne Bay ever”.
Mark Quinn – managing director of Quinn Estates – hopes to build a Tesco and 500 houses off the Old Thanet Way.
The “once-in-a-liftime opportunity” would also include four sports pitches, six tennis courts, a pub and a health club.
The plans were universally opposed by villagers in Herne at a public meeting last week, but Mr Quinn is quick to point out the benefits it would bring to the town.
He said: “We want our scheme to help regenerate Herne Bay economically and socially.
"This is not pie in the sky. We are going to make this happen. We want to work with people who are sceptical and make them understand it. They will struggle to object.”
A CGI of what the sport hub at Herne Bay Golf Club would look like
Mr Quinn insisted his development was not reliant on a Tesco superstore being opened, but that having one would create jobs for local people and give them more shopping choice.
He also addressed concerns over flooding, outlining that “the site as a whole will result in a net reduction in flood risk”.
The plan for the first phase is to give the pitches to four sports clubs in the town, one of which will be Herne Bay Hockey Club which shares with Herne Bay High because it hasn’t got the money to refurbish its 20-year-old astroturf pitch.
Chairman Clive Cripps said: “Mark knew how desperately we needed facilities.
"Olympic or iconic funding is all that is available. There is not much about for mid-range projects.
“We are in an awkward position as a club. It was like a manna from heaven when Mark approached us a year ago.
"We are not only being offered facilities but it would match what other clubs around here have.
"As chairman I have spent the last three or four years looking to find a way to take the club forward in this competitive environment.
"This is the one real opportunity.”
Developer Mark Quinn, left, with hockey club chairman Clive Cripps
Flooding, inadequate roads and a loss of green space were outlined as concerns by more than 350 people who were at a public meeting about developments at Herne Bay Golf Course and Strode Farm last week.
Mark Quinn was keen to address any fears about his development and distanced it from the Strode Farm plans, which include 1,000 homes on farmland.
Should people be worried about flooding?
"There are many concerns about flooding in the area of Eddington, where this development will be built. The site as a whole will result in a net reduction in flood risk. Our drainage and flood mitigation will cause a net improvement in flood reduction. We do this because the water will flood on our land."
Is the development reliant on a Tesco?
No it is not, but at the same time it is a good place to put a food store. At the moment you have got people buying food outside Herne Bay who live in the town. That means jobs are being created in other areas which do not necessarily need it. This will create jobs in the area for local people and people will have a choice of supermarket.
The people of Herne successfully campaigned against a Tesco there. Is that a concern?
This is not Herne. This is Herne Bay. These people need to realise it is unfair not to give people a choice of where to shop.
What do you say to the people of Herne who fear losing their village identity?
The boundary was set when the new Thanet Way was put in. That is a natural break between Herne and Herne Bay.
Does Herne Bay need this development?
This scheme is aimed at families, who will have jobs and have kids. They will need a newsagents, dry cleaners, everything. By increasing the number of economically active people in the area we will be creating jobs next to high quality housing and sports facilities.
It was suggested by Herne and Broomfield parish council chairman Tony Day that this was a done deal? Is that the case?
I would not be here if it was. I do not know the future. We want to give Herne Bay something to be proud of but if they want it, they will have to get behind it and support it. People complain they have got no facilities and if this does not happen, they will only have themselves to blame. I do not know many people who would give away five acres of land in a development. A more conventional site would have 30% to 40% more housing.