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Proposal for a new store at Eclipse Park, Maidstone

Proposal for a new store at Eclipse Park, Maidstone

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Waitrose looks to invest in Maidstone

Proposal for a new store at Eclipse Park, Maidstone

Proposal for a new store at Eclipse Park, Maidstone

Maidstone could soon be home to two Waitrose stores, after the retailer announced proposals for a new store at Eclipse Park, near junction 7 of the M20 with local firm Gallagher Group.

The retailer, part of the John Lewis Partnership, has traded in the town for nearly half a century. In addition creating up to 200 jobs at the new store at Eclipse Park, it has committed to retaining its existing Allington Park store and 140 employees, known in its business as Partners.

The proposed store would have a sales area of 29,000ft2 and offer up to 200 jobs when it opens. It would also support 200 construction jobs during the 12 month build and landscape programme. If approved the Waitrose store could open its doors in early 2018.

As part of the proposals, Waitrose and Gallagher Group will be consulting with local residents and getting their views. A leaflet will be distributed to local residents and www.waitrosemaidstone.co.uk has been developed. As part of the planning application a public exhibition will be held in February.

Jonathan Banham of Waitrose, said: “Waitrose has a long-standing ambition to serve a larger proportion of the Maidstone community and add to our existing branch in Allington Park, which has served customers for more than 45 years. 

“The location has been identified as the only one in, or near, Maidstone that would enable us to sustain two stores in the town. Every alternative site in the town centre would pull customers from the Allington Park store, making it unviable.”

“We believe that the proposals brought forward by Gallagher Properties for Eclipse Park offer an exciting opportunity to generate new investment in the town which can deliver more choice and new jobs for local people.  

“We look forward to sharing our plans and are keen to gain as many views as possible before an application is submitted.” 

The proposed store would be on a 3.7 acre site adjacent to Towergate Insurance’s head office, near to the NEXT Home & Fashion store, as well as the site a hotel which was granted planning permission last year, and nearby offices.

Nick Yandle of Gallagher Properties, said: “The combination of a Waitrose and NEXT at Eclipse Park would enhance Maidstone’s retail offer to residents and people living in nearby towns.

“The arrival of Waitrose will reinforce junction 7’s importance to the borough’s economy, and send out a positive message about the town as a location for business, and we are delighted to be working alongside such a nationally respected company.”

The single storey building incorporating modern materials alongside locally sourced Kentish Ragstone from Gallagher Group’s Hermitage Quarry in nearby Barming. The store has been designed by GDM Architects, a Maidstone-based practice.

Local residents and businesses can view the proposals at a public exhibition on Thursday 4 February between 4pm and 8pm, and on Friday 5 February, from 11am - 4pm, at Gallagher’s construction offices at Eclipse Park.

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