Published: 16:47, 13 May 2022
| Updated: 17:19, 13 May 2022
Almost two years after securing planning permission, work has finally begun on transforming a landmark building in Maidstone.
Demolition crews have started to dismantle the Grade-II listed former Peugeot dealership in the centre of town, which will see the run-down building restored with a mix of commercial and residential properties.
The imposing, Art Deco style, Len House was originally home to Rootes motor garage before more recently becoming part of the Robins and Day Peugeot dealership.
Len House Ltd, a subsidiary of developers Classicus Estates, submitted a formal planning application to the borough council in March 2020 - for a total of 159 apartments.
The company seek to retain the large windows and high interior spaces of the existing building, with a restaurant suggested to fill the ground floor and residents' parking via a ramp inside the building.
But it also wants to add a two-storey extension on the roof of the building - taking it to five storeys in total.
Architects also plan to construct a new cantilevered walkway along the river to allow access to the retail units.
In July 2020 Matthew Brett-Chaponnel, owner of developers Classicus Estates Ltd, said: "Len House is an iconic modernist piece of architecture and our plans to redevelop will ensure its long-term sustainable future."
The plans were given a unanimous vote of approval by Maidstone Borough Council's planning committee in July 2020.
But the plans have seen one previous objection, from the Stonegate Pub Company which owns Bierkeller in nearby Bank Street.
The company said the Bierkeller was a late night business which could legitimately stay open until 2am.
It argued that placing new residential accommodation nearby would inevitably lead to noise complaints and that residential development was inappropriate in a commercial part of town.
The demolition process is being overseen by Goody's Demolitions before the construction process is handed over to builders Bauvill.