A new cafe and watersports centre at a lakeside park has opened today.
The eco cafe, in Leybourne Lakes Country Park, near Snodland, cost £880,000 to build and features the latest in low carbon technology.
In October last year, TMBC approved plans for the site but its opening forced a rival family-run business to shut up shop just over three weeks ago.
Owners of the the Leybourne Lakes Café, who had been based at the country park for six years, had battled for nine months with TMBC, after launching two petitions in a desperate attempt to keep trading.
TMBC was unable to grant an additional lease for both cafés to operate, due to the lease now being passed on to the council's partners tmactive.
The owners held their last day of trading on June 26, saying that they were "truly overwhelmed" by the support from regulars and locals.
New pictures were released by the council of the new cafe this week, showing the final look of the single-storey structure.
Around 90% of the costs were met by developer contributions paid to the council under Section 106 agreements.
The payments are made to offset the impact of major building projects elsewhere in the borough by funding community improvements.
The cafe offers a range of hot and cold drinks, ice cream for humans and their canine companions, along with sandwiches, paninis and wraps.
Eco-friendly features at the new site include solar panels which will be used to power the underfloor heating, along with recycled composite decking, which is part of the veranda.
The first customers arrived at around 9.30am with the area becoming more lively at 10am as the first few runners and dog walkers arrived.
Dog walkers Mandy Longshaw and Sheena Young, say they were both really excited and took half a day off especially to have brunch at the new cafe.
Mandy said: "We have been living here for three years, and have always questioned 'why isn't there a nice cafe here?'
"We didn't really like the other one, though I didn't mind getting an occasional Mr Whippy when walking by.
"While you can walk around the lakes and see it, there's very little places to sit and enjoy it - now I can sit here for half an hour or more."
The friends from Snodland ordered a toasted sausage bap, tuna melt, fizzy drinks and two doggy ice creams for Yorkshire terriers Brody and Jessie.
Sheena commented: "The caravan didn't feel as up-market as this, and here it's really lovely – I mean look at that view!
"We are hoping it will increase property prices in the area."
They also plan on taking their family friend's eight-year-old son kayaking in the summer holidays.
Jeff Nugent, from Leybourne, enjoyed his cup of tea in the sun.
He said: "I didn't know that it opened today - I normally come to the lakes to do some cycling.
"The previous cafe was quite small, this one looks alright."
As well as the cafe, there is also a new watersports centre next door - which hosts activites such as open water swimming, paddle boarding, scuba diving, windsurfing and kayaking.
Director Will Timms says it's a great improvement now that they have a permanent, safe and secure site.
The team were originally based in a metal shipping container, which had been on the north-west corner of the park’s Lake Ocean since 1986.
He added that members would struggle in the cold months to keep warm after swimming.
"We never had underfloor heating before, and when we would get out of the water, many would take all afternoon to get back to their normal body temperature," Will said.
"That can be quite dangerous, but now we have the facilities available to make sure this doesn't happen."
At a ceremony on Wednesday, to mark the building’s handover to tmactive, Cllr Des Keers, the council’s cabinet member for community services, said: "Visitors to the park have wanted a purpose built café for many years, so I’m delighted we’ve finally been able to deliver one and also in such an environmentally friendly and cost effective way.
"Whether you’re a walker or a watersports enthusiast, this is a major boost to the appeal of the park and one I know that tmactive will make a huge success."
Martin Guyton, chief executive of tmactive, said: "The new facility is going to be an invaluable resource for park visitors and we’re delighted to be managing it on behalf of the council.
"We look forward to providing a good quality catering service in the café which will be open from 9am to 5pm, 364 days a year.
"As well as offering a delicious menu for adults and juniors alike, there will be tasty options for canine visitors too!"