Cinema, hotel and 140 apartments planned for Dartford town centre in £75million development
PUBLISHED: 11:57 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:57 16 October 2017
Dartford council is working with Muse Developments on the regeneration project
A £75million regeneration of Dartford’s town centre could bring in a cinema, hotel and more than 100 homes.
Dartford council has partnered with Muse Developments for a plan to bring the town centre back to life, after struggling from opposition at nearby Bluewater.
The proposals focus on the Westgate area of the town centre, with buildings and land lying dormant since the closure of the Co-op store.
Amongst the plans put forward so far, the old Co-op building on Spital Street will be transformed into 109-bedroom hotel.
Empty land adjacent to Orchard Street could be transformed into a mixed use development, which would boast 140 new homes, a range of bars and restaurants as well a six-screen cinema.
The public space would connect Orchard Street with Hythe Street via a new town square while a pedestrian arcade will also link the new town square with Kent Road as part of a trail of cultural and entertainment venues.
Discussions are underway between local health bosses to potentially create a facility for GPs, family health care, social care and mental health services.
Council leader Jeremy Kite said: “So much of what happens in Dartford is developer-driven and the Council rarely has sufficient ownership to shape the use of land for the benefit of local people.
“Westgate is different and Muse has an amazing track record of creating spaces that are not only commercially successful but also hugely popular with people. The council has an ambition to create modern spaces and facilities which enjoy a direct lineage back to our town’s strong sense of family and community.
“We drew ‘some lines in the sand’ such as the retention of the art-deco façade of the former Co-op store and the need for practical spaces and facilities for families. Cinema operators made a strong commercial case and urged us to find space for them as did mid-market quality hotel chains.”
“For our part, the Council also wishes to see a collaboration with local public health services to deliver new GP and health services to support our population.”
There are plans for five bars and restaurants along with a 167-space multi-storey car park for use by residents and customers.
The name “Westgate” is linked to the manor house where Anne of Cleves lived between 1553 and 1557. The residence was originally built on the remains of Dartford Priory in 1544, and was given to Anne of Cleves by Henry VIII as part of her divorce settlement.
The only remnant of the building is the manor gatehouse which stands on Priory Road.
John Robinson from Muse Developments, said: “It is an honour to have been chosen by Dartford Borough Council to lead on a project which will have such a positive impact on the town. The site is very well-connected, being close to both the high street and train station, making it the ideal location for a lively and vibrant new community and cultural quarter.
“Dartford is a forward-thinking council that wants to bring real change to the town centre. We look forward to working with them.”
A planning application is expected to be submitted in the summer of 2018.