Published: 16:40, 03 June 2020
| Updated: 16:45, 03 June 2020
A developer is asking students to design murals to brighten up hoardings around his building site.
Paul Helliwell has overseen the purchase of a prime plot in Station Street, Sittingbourne, which includes the former Peter Birch newsagents and a dance studio.
It is fenced off with black hoardings but he and architect Kristofer Adelaide have asked the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) at Canterbury to add a splash of colour to their town centre development.
Mr Helliwell, 65, from Croydon said: "Our plans are still under wraps while I am in discussion with planners but I wanted to brighten up the site for residents and I also wanted to give budding designers an opportunity to have some of their work exposed to the public."
Students at UCA, the former Kent Institute of Art and Design where Mr Adelaide studied architecture, have been working at home because of the coronavirus lockdown but were expected to present their ideas to Mr Helliwell and his team this week.
Mr Helliwell, who has worked on Google and Nike projects in central London, bought the land as part of a portfolio for his family trust.
He said: "I am very interested in the concept of urban community living with well designed apartments for the over-40s who are either looking to downsize or, for one reason or another, are on their own.
"These developments have shared amenity areas such as offices, meeting spaces, laundry rooms and spaces to store cycles.
"They have a village feel but are in the town centre a stone's throw from shops, restaurants, cinema and fast train services to London.
"I looked at a number of places in Kent but Sittingbourne ticked all the boxes and is affordable. It has huge potential. Designs like these are ideal for freelancers or anyone who can combine working from home."
He said he first became aware of the town during the early stages of the Spirit of Sittingbourne scheme.
The cinema, hotel and restaurants are still going ahead although original plans for apartments were pulled by the council's new administration.