7th February 2018
Proposals to create a new Marks & Spencer store at Eclipse Park, near junction 7 of the M20, are to go on show to the public.
The plans by Marks & Spencer and Gallagher Properties would, if approved by Maidstone Borough Council, create 300 full and part-time positions when the store opens.
A public exhibition is to be held at the Hilton Hotel on Bearsted Road, Eclipse Park on Thursday 22 February between 2pm and 8pm.
The Marks & Spencer proposals follow a decision by Waitrose not to proceed with its plans following the granting of planning permission by Maidstone Borough Council in May 2017.
Marks & Spencer (M&S) requires a new store that is the same footprint as the permitted foodstore, with a 300 space car park, including accessible and parent and child spaces.
The store will have striking design, incorporating high quality materials, and provide approximately 5,760m2 (62,000ft2) of sales area. Final decisions on the split have yet to be decided, however current thinking is that the store would offer:
- Food hall – 1,050m2 (11,300ft2)
- General merchandising (fashion and household) – 4,413m2 (47,500ft2)
- Hospitality (café) – 297m2 (3,200ft2)
Nick Yandle of Gallagher Properties, said: “The combination of a Marks & Spencer and NEXT at Eclipse Park would improve Maidstone’s retail offer as the county town to local residents and people from across a wider area of Kent.
“This investment by Marks & Spencer would also reinforce the area around junction 7 and its importance to the borough’s economy. It would 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.
“We want to listen to the views of local residents at the public exhibition and then submit a planning application in late February 2018. If the proposal is granted planning permission, work would start on site in the summer of 2018 and the store would open in autumn 2019.
Local residents can find out more about the plans by visiting: www.marksandspencer-maidstone.co.uk.