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Herne Bay 'on the up' as Kitewood launches trade park bid

Councillors say Herne Bay is “shedding its reputation as the Canterbury district’s left-behind town” as a bid for a brand-new trade park is officially launched.

Kitewood Estates has lodged plans this week to build four commercial units - which are set to create 17 jobs - on the corner of The Boulevard and Margate Road in Broomfield.

A CGI of the proposed trade park on the outskirts of Herne Bay
A CGI of the proposed trade park on the outskirts of Herne Bay

The scheme is the first stage in the developer’s proposals to massively expand Altira Business Park.

It hopes to add shops, a self-storage centre, builder’s merchant and restaurant - expected to be a McDonald’s - to the site.

Tory councillor Dan Watkins believes the company’s decision to push ahead with the multi-million-pound project is a vote of confidence in the town.

“The regeneration of Herne Bay has been going on for a few years now - and it’s a trend I think we’ll see for a few years as well,” he said.

“The area’s on the up. This planning application is a stepping stone to more jobs development and jobs at Altira.

Herne Bay councillor Dan Watkins
Herne Bay councillor Dan Watkins

“It’s encouraging that in such a difficult time that we’re seeing these plans and others for new homes and restaurants in the centre of town coming forward.

“It’s got the reputation as the left-behind town of the district, and I think it’s slowly shedding that.”

Papers show the new trade park - earmarked for a vacant plot of land - will offer up “a boost to the local economy”.

Documents produced on behalf of Kitewood also claim that the new units will see Canterbury City Council receive a cash injection of £38,000 per year in business rates.

As part of the wider Altira expansion project, McDonald’s revealed just after the new year it is among those eyeing up the site - a move it claims would create as many as 80 jobs alone.

A map of the expanded Altira Park site on the outskirts of Herne Bay Picture: Core Commercial
A map of the expanded Altira Park site on the outskirts of Herne Bay Picture: Core Commercial

When approached this week, a spokesman for the chain said “we don’t have any update our side”.

But Beltinge councillor Ian Stockley hopes it will stem the flow of young people from the Bay having to leave the town in search of work.

“We have our fair share of houses, but we need somewhere for people to work,” the Conservative explained.

“The Altira project is going to bring jobs to the area. It’ll mean younger people coming out of schools and colleges won’t necessarily need to move away.

“If we allow Herne Bay to remain as it is, I suspect most of its younger people will need to move out to find employment. That’s why this is so important.”

Kitewood also wants to turn the dilapidated remains of nearby Blacksole Farm, off Margate Road, into a housing estate.

Early drawings show the plot could contain 70 homes. The firm has not yet submitted full plans for this part of the scheme to the council.

Both Altira and Blacksole Farm have been put forward for inclusion in the city council’s revised Local Plan, which will map out construction in the district until 2040.

The former has already attracted Sainsbury’s, Snap Fitness and Screwfix to the town.

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