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Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre in Gillingham hoping to build five new stores

By Amy Nickalls

Spaces for five new stores could soon open at Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre after a planning application was submitted to build a new retail block.

The Gillingham centre’s trustees have submitted a planning application for 7,522 square metres of new retail and leisure floor space.

In 2013, permission was granted to extend existing retail units but developers have since decided larger more flexible units are preferred by the businesses that they want to attract.

A stand-alone building has been earmarked for the yellow car park, near the Argos entrance, to make space for five new companies.

To make up for the loss of parking, a deck will be built above the blue car park and will provide 316 spaces. Across the centre there will be 32 fewer spaces to park following the changes.

The car park will be built first, followed by the new units, if planning permission if approved.

There are also plans to include a high quality open space and pedestrian link to connect the new units and car park to the East Mall entrance. This includes a new seating area.

Existing pedestrian crossings will also be widened and new traffic calming measures will be introduced.

The latest plans follows the opening of multi-million pound Venue building in August 2015, which is home to several restaurants, and the new TK Maxx extension, which opened its doors in September 2016.

Development manager Eric Hall, said: “With an ageing building once you finish one part there is always something else that needs to be looked at.

"These are larger units than we can accommodate now and we’re looking to let them to tenants to extend the range of shops we have to offer.

“We want to get people to keep coming back by offering them excellent facilities.”

Public consultation is now open until November 8 and you can have your say on the plans by searching Medway Council Planning Portal and application number MC/17/3484.

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