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Town plan debate angers developers

PUBLISHED: 16:43 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 23 August 2010

HUNDREDS of residents attended a heated three-hour debate on plans to transform the face of the town s riverfront - only to hear the decision deferred. The result angered development firm Edinburgh House, which has pumped £4million into the project. Boss

HUNDREDS of residents attended a heated three-hour debate on plans to transform the face of the town's riverfront - only to hear the decision deferred.

The result angered development firm Edinburgh House, which has pumped £4million into the project. Bosses accused the council of "moving the goalposts" on Monday.

Plans for the controversial £120 million regeneration of the Heritage Quarter include business space, leisure section, hotel and new homes.

Director Tony Quayle said: "This further procrastination puts Gravesend's economic future in question. In an era when town centre development in the UK has all but ground to a halt, it is surprising to see inward investment of this scale thwarted.

"Having agreed a strategy with the planning officers to submit one comprehensive planning application in accordance the council's original brief we are clearly frustrated to have seen the goalposts moved at this late stage and will be taking detailed legal advice on the matter."

Speakers were booed and cheered as head of the Regulatory Board Meeting Harold Craske struggled to maintain order at the specially arranged meeting in the Woodville Halls theatre on Monday.

The scheme involves three large buildings erected in the Eastern Quarter, comprising 161 one and two bedroom flats, more than 1,300 square meters of leisure space and a seven storey hotel.

It also seeks outline planning permission for a further four buildings surrounding St Georges Church with 240 residential homes, 12,500 metres square of retail space, 400 metre square of restaurant space and 500 metres square of commercial space.

The plan would see an increase of 716 car parking spaces, provided in underground parking lots, and will create 400 temporary construction jobs and 600 permanent office, retail and maintenance positions.

Councillors Conrad Broadley, Michael Wenban and Alex Moore criticised the height of the buildings, the lack of family housing and questioned how a decision could be reached when only outline details for the Western Quarter.

Cllr Broadley said: "At this moment we are trying to with complex applications, and while with a few changes I feel the Eastern Quarter is almost there the West side is nowhere near. It shouldn't have even come before the committee."

What do you think? E-mail michael.adkins@archant.co.uk

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