Published: 12:22, 14 June 2019
| Updated: 13:17, 14 June 2019
A popular Indian restaurant has announced it will close later this month.
Spice Lounge in Coxheath opened in 2007 but its future was in doubt after plans for retirement flats were submitted to replace it.
He said: "With the residential developments in Coxheath, the general expectation would be that demand for the restaurant would remain strong.
"Unfortunately, in the last two years patterns and spending habits seem to have changed, with a general decline in the use of the restaurant. In the first half of 2019 use of the restaurant for dining in is very poor.
"We would easily do over 100 covers on a Saturday night but in recent times we have seen this drop significantly with average dining in at 40/50 covers on a Saturday night.
"The takeaway collection service has increased in popularity, with some days the turnover in takeaway being much greater then the dining in customers.
"Weekdays from Monday to Thursday has over time seen a steady decline in dining in customers, with a takeaway a more popular option. On average I would say the takeaway turnover in the first half of 2019, equates to more than 50% of the turnover.
"Takeaway seems to be the cheaper option for many families. Trends show a general decline in the restaurant use, with an increased demand for takeaway service. The Spice Lounge site is too large just to operate a takeaway service.
"The building has high operating costs, and is not viable any longer to operate as a restaurant. This year has seen costs outweighing the benefits of keeping the premises opened, and requiring cash injection from me to cover costs. Therefore I have taken the decision to close the premises from June 29 until further notice."
The news of the closure comes just weeks after proposals for retirement flats were submitted to Maidstone Borough Council for 14 retirement apartments.
A previous proposal submitted by the developer had been refused in September 2018 because the development was held to appear “isolated, incongruous and out of scale in its setting, unrelated to existing development fronting Heath Road to the west and failing to contribute in providing a sense of enclosure or sense of place to this part of Coxheath”.
Changes have now been made to make sure the fronts of any new build would fit in with its surroundings and landscaping would be an option due to any apartments being set back from Heath Road.
A decision on the application will be made next month.