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Revamp of The Mall Chequers in Maidstone expected to start in May

A £5 million revamp of a Maidstone shopping centre is yet to get off the ground.

The Kent Messenger revealed in February how The Mall Chequers, in King Street, will undergo a long-overdue makeover.

The year-long project was due to begin this month, however this week Capital & Regional, which owns the building, confirmed it is yet to appoint a contractor.

Changes at the Mall, Maidstone which will celebrate 40 years in 2016. Picture: ESA architecture
Changes at the Mall, Maidstone which will celebrate 40 years in 2016. Picture: ESA architecture

Work is now expected to start in May.

A spokesman for the owners said: “There is no confirmed timescale for the proposed redevelopment. Capital & Regional continue to work up the redevelopment for the scheme in response to the undoubted demand for quality retail and leisure space in Maidstone.”

Last year the company announced plans for a £100m makeover, prompting long-standing general manager Paul Alcock to step down prematurely as the proposals required him to stay on for another five years.

The spokesman added: “It is not yet confirmed when the £100m project will begin and it is completely separate to the imminent revamp.

The original Stoneborough Centre entrance
The original Stoneborough Centre entrance

“Proposals are being worked on but it is premature to be talking about the full redevelopment.”

The more modest £5 million project, which will be the first substantial building work the centre has experienced since it opened in 1976 as the Stoneborough Centre, will see the canopy over the main King Street entrance removed and the Gabriel’s Hill access point expanded.

Additionally new lighting, flooring and toilets will be installed, shop fronts heightened and ceiling beams exposed.

The Stoneborough Centre - Maidstone, February 1988
The Stoneborough Centre - Maidstone, February 1988

Despite the stalled construction work new businesses are being attracted to the complex.

Last month. five new stores opened and this week a sixth business has announced it will be moving in this summer.

Newly launched fashion retailer Pep & Co will open in place of Stacks furniture store on the bus station level in August.

The chain, which will open 50 shops across England and Wales in the same month, is looking to hire 12 people.

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