A former Aldi left empty for four years has been described as a “blight on the town centre”.
Residents say it is “ludicrous” that the large building on the main route through Hythe is still “just sitting there not being used”.
Plans to turn the old supermarket, located behind the high street, into a mix of smaller shops and apartments were drawn up by developers last year - with the hope of completing work in 2023.
However, an official application has not yet been submitted to Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC).
This has left residents wondering why the “prime town centre site” has been left empty for “such a long time”.
Celia German told KentOnline the “shabby” building, which went on the market for £2.2 million back in 2019, is a “blight on the town centre”.
“It’s such a shame it has been empty for such a long time,” she said.
“This is a prime site in the town centre and it seems ludicrous that such a big building is just sitting there not being used.”
In March last year, property developers In5 Group revealed plans to demolish some existing buildings and refurbish others to allow the creation of 35 new homes and seven shops.
The firm’s website announced a planning application would be submitted in April, with work starting between the winter of 2022 and the spring of 2023.
However, after proposals were branded "unacceptable" by the Hythe Civic Society, the developers took the project back to the drawing board.
Mrs German, who was also against the original plans, says she would much rather see the building used as a “space for the community”.
“I understand there is a huge pressure on housing, but I wouldn't want to see it used as homes that are unaffordable for local people,” she said.
"The building itself is looking very shabby. Hythe is such a beautiful town and it does seem to be a blight on our community.
“I would love to see it used as a community space.
“I think it would be a great use of the building to be some kind of sports centre.”
Hythe town councillor John Stokes (Lib Dem) also thinks the plans should be progressing faster.
“They published plans more than a year ago - so the fact it has not moved on is extremely disappointing,” he said.
“It is not helping to keep the town buzzing.
Cllr Stokes, who lives in Hythe, says he would personally like there only to be a “limited amount of retail space on the site”.
He added: “We don't want the high street full of empty shops.
“The space should be used for plenty of affordable housing along with some retail to stay in keeping with the rest of the high street.”
Despite the lengthy delay, the site’s owners have told KentOnline they still want to go ahead with their scheme.
A spokesperson said: “We continue to work with various stakeholders including the Design Review Panel with a view to submitting a planning application as soon as possible.”