Published: 12:00, 15 October 2015
| Updated: 12:16, 15 October 2015
The Dartford site once earmarked for a major Tesco development has been sold and could now be transformed for residential use.
Having abandoned its long-term plan for a new store in Lowfield Street last year, the supermarket chain has now sold its holding to European real estate investment manager Meyer Bergman.
CEO Markus Meijer has promised the community they can trust his company to make a positive contribution to the town.
“We see this investment as an opportunity to give new impetus to the projects, to make Tesco’s place-making ambitions for the sites happen and to make an enduring contribution to local communities,” he said.
The Lowfield Street site is one of 14 Tesco abandoned and have now sold after recording record losses of £6.4bn for 2014, and chief executive Dave Lewis is happy with the deal.
“We are very pleased to have agreed a deal with Meyer Bergman that will bring forward significant investment for these local communities, including opportunities for residential development,” he said.
Dartford Council leader Jeremy Kite says few will be sorry to see the end of Tesco’s involvement with Lowfield Street, which many see as a wasted development opportunity.
“Today’s news at least provides a fresh start with new owners who have a track-record of creating and maintaining quality property and civic environments,” he said.
“For years, the Council has been frustrated by its inability to drive forward development at Lowfield Street because it owns little or no land and had few legal powers to force progress.
"It would be disingenuous to say that today’s sale changes all of that. It doesn’t.
"But what it does do, is see the land at last in the hands of owners who seem motivated and able to make something good happen in a way that Tesco clearly weren’t.
Cllr Kite has called on Meyer Bergman to engage with shoppers, residents and local business, a view shared by Dartford’s Labour leader Jonathon Hawkes.
“Dartford town centre can only thrive again if the needs of the community and the aspirations of local people are placed at its heart,” he said.
“There is now an opportunity to start building that with a new plan for Lowfield Street.
"I’m looking forward to working with Meyer Bergman and hearing their ideas, but everyone in Dartford will be agreed that after the way our town has been let down over the last decade, the voices of local people– retailers and residents, need to be heard.”
Dartford Council will be meeting with representatives of the site’s new owners later this month.