Published: 18:29, 18 May 2020
| Updated: 19:06, 18 May 2020
Work on a much-anticipated Sainsbury's will begin next week with the demolition of existing buildings.
The new supermarket will replace several industrial properties in Station Approach, Staplehurst and, when finished, will also include an Argos, altogether creating 100 new jobs.
Last year, KentOnline's sister paper, the Kent Messenger, ran a campaign urging Sainsbury's to "Put up or push off" after concerns the dilapidated site was discouraging other businesses from the area.
But now, demolition is finally due to begin on Tuesday, May 26 and is expected to take 12 weeks, before construction of the supermarket can begin.
Plans state the store will have 18,203 square feet of retail space and a 161-space car park. Access will be via a new mini-roundabout in Station Road.
Alongside groceries, Sainsbury's clothing and "general merchandise" will also be available.
Sainsbury’s says it is "strictly adhering to Government advice in relation to Covid-19", and "all on-site work will be undertaken in accordance with the Government’s social distancing guidelines and working practices will be kept under continuous review to ensure they align with the most up-to-date guidance".
Chairman of Staplehurst Parish Council Paddy Riordan said: "We’re delighted to hear that demolition works will soon be starting on-site. The new supermarket is eagerly awaited and will make a fantastic contribution to the village. I know that local people will be very excited to hear this news."
The supermarket's director of property, procurement and cost transformation Patrick Dunne added: "We recognise it’s a tough time at the moment, but we hope that seeing work start on-site next week will be a bright light.
"We know the local community is keen to see our plans move forward and we’re now ready to drive ahead. We can’t wait to welcome customers into our new store next year."
More by this authorRebecca Tuffin