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Public vote sees Maidstone's new £467,000 food hall christened Love Food at Lockmeadow


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A name has been selected for a new food hall after a public vote.

The dining destination - which is due to open in Maidstone this autumn - will be known as 'Love Food at Lockmeadow' after 52.1% of the vote backed that moniker over 'Lockmeadow Street Food'.

An example of what the food hall might look like once open
An example of what the food hall might look like once open

Alexa Kersting-Woods, leisure property manager for Maidstone Borough Council, said: "We are really pleased with the choice, it was hard to find the perfect name and we liked both options in the final vote.

"Love Food at Lockmeadow will be the perfect accompaniment to those looking for fresh, high quality food quickly. The pricing will be affordable and the choices of food will span the globe.”

Focus groups with local residents and businesses have been taking place to assess the demand for different cuisines to be featured at the food hall, which is part of a wider £900,000 makeover of the Lockmeadow leisure complex in Barker Road.

More than 30 traders have already expressed interest in bringing their food to the venue.

Ms Kersting Woods said: "We are so excited about bringing this to Lockmeadow. The nature of the tenant collective within Love Food will allow new businesses to grow and flourish without taking on large premises with long-term fixed rent contracts.

The Lockmeadow leisure complex in Maidstone
The Lockmeadow leisure complex in Maidstone

"We are striving to offer existing and new audiences a different eating out experience for the town. From light bites, sharing platters for friends and families meeting, or a coffee stop after a riverside walk and we want it to provide an offer for as many audiences as possible.”

The council purchased a 105-year lease on the Lockmeadow complex in November 2019 for £19million, but has been unable to find tenants for two of the restaurant units which have stood empty for four years.

The authority intends to take the centre in a new direction by converting two vacant properties to a food hall to provide space for up to eight independent caterers to offer a quality fast-food service.

As a further attraction, the council is to add a children's play area near the stag sculpture between the complex and the River Medway.

The food hall will cost £467,000, the terrace £295,000, and the play area £103,000 with a further £30,000 spent on drawing-up plans.

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