Published: 02:00, 04 January 2021
| Updated: 09:29, 04 January 2021
Work on a multi-million-pound trade park is set to begin - as developers look to cash in on a boom in out-of-town businesses.
A planned transformation of a derelict 3.5-acre plot off Sturry Road, which through years of inactivity has become overgrown and unsightly, is expected to create dozens of jobs in Canterbury.
Bosses from Glenbeigh Developments Ltd, which owns the land, say the business park will also include a trade counter and self-storage unit.
And, despite being hampered by a series of delays, they say diggers could move onto the site in five months’ time to begin the first phase of construction.
Director Colin Whelan said: “We’ll be pressing ahead by about May or June, at long last.
“Bizarrely – not just because of Covid – a growing market in the area has been the need for self-storage facilities and out-of-town retail.
“Those out-of-town retail parks have blossomed recently. People are happier shopping in-out-of-town locations rather than in town centres.”
Mr Whelan says his firm has operators lined up for “40% of the site”, but cannot name them.
He had originally intended on launching a car showroom on the site, but scrapped those plans following a slump in the motor industry.
Plans to transform the wasteland, which originally formed part of the Southern Water sewage works, have been in the pipeline for more than a decade.
Glenbeigh first launched a bid to build the trade park in 2009.
It was later given the green light by the city council, and a variety of successful applications were lodged with the authority 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 been consented for some time and the market’s been against us,” Mr Whelan added.
“But now, there seems to have been an uplift.”