Published: 00:01, 17 July 2017
Developers leading a multi-million pound regeneration of the town centre say they are close to agreeing a deal to build a four-storey hotel on top of new restaurants and shops in William Street car park.
Retail experts at Coplan Estates are working on phase two of the town’s central development plan following the opening of the long-awaited Aldi supermarket in March.
They say they are in deep discussions with a budget hotel chain about erecting the 80-bed building above new retail units close to Wimereux Square.
Coplan Estates director Colin McQueston – who would not be drawn on exactly which hotel chain is interested – says the development will cost between £12m and £15m.
“I think the town centre is under-represented with its hotel offering,” he told the Gazette this week.
“A hotel would fill a natural gap but, until we have the name confirmed, it is difficult to say one way or another.
“It is not close to being finished, but we are hopefully close to getting a deal agreed. It is at a delicate stage.”
Mr McQueston, who hopes to submit a planning application within six to nine months, says he will keep the loss of car park spaces in William Street to a minimum. It currently has 227 spaces, including 12 for disabled people.
“We need to make sure there is an appropriate number of parking spaces,” Mr McQueston said.
“We don’t want to go below 150 or 160 spaces in William Street.
“We have done an initial study, but a detailed parking assessment would be done when we submit a planning application.”
Mr McQueston says the development would draw restaurant and retail operators due to its location, which already includes Morrisons next to Aldi.
“The leisure centre and cinema attracts 350,000 people a year and restaurant operators would like that level of footfall,” he said.
“We will be busy boys over the next six months now and, as with all these things, it will take time. But Aldi has been a success and we are very keen to do the second phase.”
Canterbury council spokesman Rob Davies says the authority is working with Coplan, which could build a residential development on the car park if the hotel deal does not come off.
“Our development partner Coplan Estates is looking at phase two, following the successful completion of the Aldi development,” he said.
“Part of this includes talking to a number of potential tenants, including budget hotel operators. It is very early days for this work and there would be more information and consultation in due course.”
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