An eye-catching new image shows how part of a town could be transformed with a culture and education hub.
Run-down buildings, including the former Funky Monkey nightclub in Dover, have been demolished to make way for the Beacon Project, a council-run scheme set to rejuvenate Bench Street.
Work began to tear down derelict buildings in August – the ex-nightclub has already been demolished, and work to remove the nearby former Banksy building is near complete.
Now, a new image showing how a proposed business, education and cultural centre could look has been released by project-leaders, Dover District Council (DDC).
Residents, businesses and anyone with an interest are invited to view and comment on the new designs ahead of a full planning application, which is expected in 2024.
This follows on from the initial consultation work that took place in February.
As part of the Dover Beacon project a creative centre will be created, along with an education campus and business start-up centre.
The underpass in Bench Street – which connects to the seafront – will also be improved, and a riverside public open space will be created.
The Dover Click2Cycle bike hire will be expanded.
Millions of pounds will be spent on the scheme – with £3.2 million of funding coming from the Future High Street Fund, £1.7 million from DDC’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund, £18.1 million funding awarded from the Levelling Up Fund and a further £1.8 million from DDC.
New homes are also set for Bench Street
Number 11 Bench Street – the former Castle Amusements building – is currently being demolished, with crews remaining on site to complete the job.
The building was used as a canvas by famous artist Banksy in 2017.
His painting however – an image of a workman on a ladder chipping away one of the stars of the EU flag – was mysteriously whitewashed two years later.
It is not clear whether the artwork was saved as the building came down.
Two other buildings on Bench Street - including the site of the former Crypt restaurant, where a fire killed seven people in 1977 - were bought by the council for the regeneration of the area.
The council views Bench Street as a key link between the seafront and the recently-renovated Market Square, which had huge metal ring water features installed last summer.
East Kent College Group has been confirmed as the tenant of the education campus and East Kent Spatial Development Company will take the business start-up centre.
A drop-in event will take place at EKC Dover College, Maison Dieu Road on Thursday, November 23 from 2.30pm to 7pm.
DDC officers will be there alongside the project’s architects.
Visitors to the drop-in event will be able to comment on proposals and will also be asked for their views on options for the refurbishment of the underpass.
The redevelopment of the site is expected to deliver more than £90 million of economic benefits to the town.
The creative centre will provide space for art and culture, including exhibitions, gallery space, functions, presentations, and meetings, together with studio/making spaces, and the potential for a café and retail.
Meanwhile, the business hub will provide affordable facilities for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises, to attract and keep skilled workers and provide new employment opportunities.
They will make up separate sections of the new building revealed in the latest CGI.
The development will also have a small park where tenants and their clients and the wider community, can meet and spend leisure time.