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Regeneration plans for Sittingbourne move a step closer

Spirit of Sittingbourne, the consortium behind the £57 million regeneration of Sittingbourne town centre, has submitted two planning applications for large retail units, a drive-thru takeaway and a hotel.

Also in Sittingbourne, Aria Group has revealed its plans to transform the derelict Bell Centre site into flats, a medical centre and a pharmacy.

At a full council meeting yesterday (27 July), the leader, Cllr Andrew Bowles (Con), said that construction work on the regeneration could start by the end of 2016.

Spirit of Sittingbourne’s first application is to transform the old Biffa depot on Princes Street off Eurolink Way into new shops and a drive-thru. The second application is for a hotel opposite the railway station, which would be next to The Forum beside the planned eight-screen cinema and restaurants.

Potential occupiers of the hotel and new stores are not yet known.

And in a separate bid, developers Aria Group want to redevelop the former Bell Centre into three blocks of flats, containing 164 apartments; a medical centre and a pharmacy.

The company aim to develop the apartment buildings as one with 46 two-bed flats over four floors; another with a mix of 106 one and two-bed flats over six floors, including parking on the ground floor; and a third with 12 one or two-bed flats. The medical centre would be built near the High Street and a pharmacy would open onto the High Street.

In addition, there are also plans to refurbish the Bell House offices, as well as adding an extra storey to provide two two-bed flats. However, just 58 parking spaces are planned, although the developers suggest there would be bicycle storage as well.

Despite the council’s policy that 10% of new homes in a development of this size should be affordable, Aria has said that this would not be viable and is proposing that no cut-price housing will be provided.

A planning application for the development is due to be submitted in the near future.

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