Published: 08:28, 16 October 2021
| Updated: 08:30, 16 October 2021
A building supplies chain is opening its doors for business in a superstore which has stood vacant for almost three years.
MKM - the UK's largest independent builders' merchant - has taken on the long-empty unit on the Wincheap Industrial Estate previously occupied by Homebase.
The DIY chain, which has more than 80 branches across the country, eyed up the site after Wickes pulled out of negotiations with the city council last year.
To mark the opening of the Canterbury store on Monday, darts legend Bobby George will be playing first-day customers in a series of challenges.
MC announcer Paul Booth will also be at hand as customers get the chance to win signed prizes.
The launch of the new store has resulted in the creation of 16 jobs.
The firm's CEO, Kate Tinsley, said: “I’m delighted to say that MKM Canterbury is the latest addition to our network of branches.
"As the largest independent builders’ merchants in the country we value outstanding service and pride ourselves in an excellent knowledge of the local areas around our branches.
“I wish MKM Canterbury all the best with this new step, and I know they will continue to provide their local area top quality service and their expert industry knowledge as they move forward, and I’m sure go from strength to strength.”
Bosses say the new store in Cow Lane will be a "state-of-the-art facility providing a one-stop-shop for all building products".
Doors will open at 10am on Monday.
The Canterbury City Council-owned unit, which was bought by the authority in 2013 for £3.5 million, has stood idle for almost three years.
The forthcoming launch has been welcomed by the council as it prepares to benefit from "very useful" income.
The authority purchased the large unit for £3.5 million in 2013 and has lost hundreds of thousands in potential rent while it has stood empty.
Last year, Wickes was planning on moving into the site but pulled out after its plans to chop down mature trees were refused by the council.