Published: 17:41, 18 October 2018
| Updated: 07:51, 19 October 2018
Long queues at Nando's could be a thing of the past if plans to extend into a former tourist attraction are approved.
The Dickens World site in Chatham Maritime will house the chicken chain as well as Mighty Claws and Gymfinity if the plans are supported next Wednesday (October 24).
Applicant Schroder UK Real Estate Fund says at least 52 new jobs will be created at the premises, which has stood empty since the end of 2016.
The venture is recommended for approval by Medway Council’s planning department.
Council papers read: “It is considered that the proposed development would introduce uses for the vacant former Dickens World, which is considered to be appropriate for this area.
“Furthermore, the proposal is considered to be acceptable in relation to matters of design, amenities and transport.”
Mighty Claws is a dinosaur-themed operator, with its centres in Colchester and Bournemouth both having a bespoke theme. It is intended the Chatham business will be based around the Victorian era.
The attraction will have a “Victorian dinosaur exhibit”, two indoor adventure golf courses, destination bar and dining, a course-side bar, and bookable party areas.
Meanwhile, Gymfinity will provide gymnastics facilities and classes for children up to the age of 16. The offering promises to include a “ninja zone” and holiday camps.
Nando’s plan to make use of part of the Dickens World site by building a first-floor extension for toilet facilities and seating, allowing space to be freed up on the ground floor for more customers.
Planning documents read: "The existing Nando's restaurant at Chatham Maritime is extremely popular to the extent that diners regularly have to queue.
"To satisfy demand Nando's wish to expand the restaurant."
The matter is only going before Medway Council’s planning committee due to conditions imposed in 2005 and 2014 to protect businesses in Chatham town centre.
A council report adds: “The imposition of condition 50 means that the occupation of the Dickens World unit is personalised, and cannot be used for any (use)... other than as Dickens World.
“Permission is therefore required in order to allow other D2 uses (entertainment and leisure purposes) within the planning unit.
“It must be noted that in the absence of such a personal condition, planning permission would not normally be required for a change of D2 use.”
More by this authorDean Kilpatrick, local democracy reporter
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