Published: 12:00, 16 January 2018
| Updated: 12:41, 16 January 2018
A restaurant chain has pulled out of the St James’ development just weeks before the opening.
Frankie & Benny’s will no longer be part of Dover’s flagship £53 million leisure and retail project, which has a phased opening from February.
Richard Poyser, head of retail relationships and leasing for landowners Legal & General said: “We can confirm that Frankie & Benny’s has withdrawn from the St James’ development.
"This reflects its national strategy rather than Dover.
“With Nando’s, Costa Coffee and Cineworld still committed, we look forward to providing dining and leisure choices to customers after we open in February.
“We’re working hard to secure further dining brands, including ones already in negotiations, and hope to announce new names soon.
"Our focus remains on supporting the whole town by creating a scheme that will appeal to local residents, visitors to the area and tourists travelling to and from the port.”
Frankie and Benny’s, a New York Italian-themed restaurant chain, announced in April 2014 announced that it would join the development.
It has outlets in other parts of Kent such as Westwood Cross in Thanet, Ashford, Strood and Gillingham.
The overall St James’ project is a collaboration between Bond City and Dover District Council.
Cllr Mike Eddy, council group leader, said:“It is a setback but not one that will hold up progress.
"If done properly the town centre will benefit from the DTIZ (Dover Town Investment Zone), and the DTIZ will benefit from the independent small shops in the town.
“People are determined to make sure everyone mutually benefits from this.
“It has however highlighted how important making the right decisions is.
"If the Conservative council’s new Sunday parking charges are seen to put off people from coming to Dover, then they must be dropped.”
The Mercury has put in enquiries to Frankie and Benny’s head office for further details of the decision to leave.
More by this authorSam Lennon