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Spirit of Sittingbourne is due to be completed in December

The eagerly-awaited Spirit of Sittingbourne regeneration scheme is finally taking shape.

Work on the town’s new cinema, hotel and restaurant complex is progressing well, with the finishing touches expected to be completed next month.

The new Travelodge in Sittingbourne town centre
The new Travelodge in Sittingbourne town centre

A report, prepared for members ahead of Swale council’s Cabinet meeting, said the Bourne Place leisure quarter, opposite the railway station, is due to be completed in December.

The 63-room Travelodge hotel is set to open first, before the end of the year, and an eight-screen Light Cinema and big name-restaurants including Nando’s, Pizza Express, Creams and Loungers are set to follow in spring 2020.

Last week, Nando’s and Loungers submitted planning applications to the council for the signs at the restaurants.

The plans show that Nando’s will be in unit four, underneath the cinema, and will have bi-folding doors and seating inside and out. Loungers, which operates over 100 cafés across the UK, is planning to name its Sittingbourne branch the Sentado Lounge café bar and it will be underneath the Travelodge hotel.

In the Cabinet meeting report, the council said it was “working actively” with Spirit to fill the remaining three vacant units, but said there were “reasons for optimism on their letting”.

The signs for the new Nando's in Sittingbourne have been sent to Swale council for approval
The signs for the new Nando's in Sittingbourne have been sent to Swale council for approval

It added that the total income for this part of the development would be £1.1million per annum.

The next part of the multi-million pound regeneration project will be the residential development, with 212 apartments built on three council-owned sites – Cockleshell Walk and Spring Street car parks and Fountain Street.

After that, the project’s focus was due to turn to building new council offices off Central Avenue, near the library and Phoenix House.

This part of the project was set to begin after the completion of the leisure quarter and the move could result in housing plans for the Swale House site in East Street.

Meanwhile, the town’s Bourne Place multi-storey car park in St Michael’s Road – which is also part of the multi-million pound regeneration scheme – is now open. The 317-space block opened in September, five months later than planned.

This timelapse video shows the progress of the build up until November last year

What do you think of what you’ve seen so far? Email your comments to sittingbourne@thekmgroup.co.uk.

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