Kent's biggest Waitrose to deliver new jobs

It is full steam ahead for plans to build Kent’s largest Waitrose in Maidstone.

Eclipse Park owners Gallagher Properties has lodged a full application for the high-end supermarket next to junction 7 of the M20 – behind the Next superstore.

The proposal for the £14 million store and 300-bay car park on the former park and ride site could bring with it 200 new jobs.

The high-end store will be a similar size to nearby Tesco at nearby Grove Green

A public consultation has recently been held and the company has met Boxley Parish Council and Maidstone Borough Council. Leaflets were delivered to 5,300 homes and 120 people visited the two-day exhibition, with 145 feedback forms returned and 27 people objecting.

Waitrose store

Traffic has been the main concern, especially as the application for the supermarket came just weeks after the conditions of outline planning permission for a second hotel at the Bearsted Road estate were met.

Regulations included traffic changes and landscaping, and an operator is yet to be found for the 150-bedroom facility.

The final pieces of the jigsaw for Eclipse Park are three office blocks, the planning permission for which has now expired. Tenants were not forthcoming and the owner is considering splitting one of the buildings into smaller units to suit current business trends.

If planning permission is granted for Waitrose, building work will get fully under way next year with an opening date set for April 2018. A final decision on the plans is due later this summer August.

To view the application visit bit.ly/waitplan with a decision expected from August. there's also more information at www.waitrosemaidstone.co.uk

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