£30m shopping complex to create hundreds of jobs

Plans for a £30m shopping complex would bring new businesses to Medway and create hundreds of jobs.

Blueprints have been submitted to Medway Council to build a retail development on land at Medway City Estate in Strood, once earmarked for a giant Sainsbury’s.

The supermarket chain pulled the plug on a 64,000sq ft store behind McDonald’s in Anthony’s Way, in January last year.

The land was sold earlier this year to an undisclosed buyer, with the 12.5 acre plot being marketed as still being for retail use. Now plans have been revealed for a parade of six new shops, plus four smaller kiosks.

The possible future tenants have not been finalised but the developer, Location 3 Properties, has said most will be “new to the Medway area”. They are likely to include a discount food store, pet shop, textiles retailer and homeware store.

MCESTATE

The four smaller units, or ‘pods’ as they have been called in the application to the council, will be occupied by food and drink kiosks such as a coffee shop and a sandwich shop, as well as a phone shop. The plans include 367 car parking spaces for customers and staff.

Sainsbury’s had planned to fill in Whitewall Creek to build on the land but the huge cost involved is thought to be one of the reasons the retailer changed its mind. The new plans are much smaller in size so do not require building on the creek.

If planning permission is given, work will start this summer and should be completed by August next year.

Location 3 Properties said the proposal would represent an investment of around £30m and, once completed, would create 225 new full and part-time jobs in the shops. In addition, some 250 jobs would be created over the construction phase.

The planning statement concludes: “The application proposal will at long last result in the development of this allocated site which despite a number of retail consents in conjunction with a park and ride facility has stood idle for many years.

“In doing so, it will represent an investment in Medway of about £30m, deliver much needed new jobs and will be a physical manifestation of continuing investment in Medway on a highly prominent location.”

Cllr Gary Etheridge, one of the ward councillors for the area, welcomed the plans: “I think it is good news for Medway,” he said.

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