B&Q plans launch of a shipshape shop

PLANS are under way to build one of the country's biggest B&Q DIY stores in Medway, with a unique nautical design to reflect the area's past. The 10,000 square metre single-storey warehouse is planned for the former Civil Service Sports Ground in Gillingham.

The building will have a main curved roof and various canopies of varying sizes, representing the sails of a ship. It is intended to be a one-stop store for any size home improvement job and will house a garden centre, trade centre and coffee shop. It will also have a full delivery service.

The new store at the junction of Watling Street and Will Adams Way is expected to employ 300 to 1,000 including electricians, plumbers, interior designers and horticulturists who will give in-store demonstrations throughout the day. When up and running, the present B&Q store at the Gillingham Business Park will close and all staff will be transferred.

Steve Osborne-Brown, a spokesman for B&Q, said: "A lot of thought has gone into the design of the building and as it is quite a way back from the roadside, it hardly touches the skyline and will not be obtrusive. The idea is that people will not have to run around for odd things from lots of different DIY stores."

Mr Osborne-Brown said that the company had bought the site with this development in mind because of its "excellent access". He said: "If and when planning permission is given, we can start very quickly. It is difficult to give a time-span, but it will be a long build process."

B&Q has recently submitted the plans, including car parking, cycleway and landscaping, to Medway Council. Councillors will decide whether to approve it at a later date.

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