Planners at Canterbury City Council have tonight approved the massive Kingsmead redevelopment project.
It comprises a multiplex cinema, eight units for bars and restaurants and three retail units.
Also included are 16 four-bedroom family houses, 173 flats and 493 student bedrooms.
- VIDEO: Extraordinary scenes as Westgate Gardens floods
- East Kent hospitals receives midwife recruitment boost
The area to be developed is the former Kingsmead coach park, the Serco depot, the flats on the Kingsmead roundabout known as Cold Harbour and a section of land previously used for business in the Sturry Road.
The project is one of a number of large schemes coming before the council’s planning committee tonight.
Work has already started on demolishing the buildings which once stood on the site.
Canterbury City Council is the owner of the site after obtaining it through a compulsory purchase order.
In response to the decision which was voted nine for and two against, council spokesman Rob Davies said: “”Tonight’s decision is the culmination of many years of hard work and we are delighted this exciting project for Canterbury has overcome this important hurdle.
“It is the city’s last big regeneration site and this scheme will transform a tired, run-down corner of Canterbury into a vibrant leisure and residential hub.
“It’s generally the case that at Planning Committee, the majority of public speakers are against what’s proposed, but we know from previous consultations, public feedback and social media that there is a lot of support from local residents and we look forward to the project taking shape in the months ahead.”
The agent for the scheme Mary Davidson said: “We have created a scheme which is totally in line with the Local Plan and delivers the long held aspirations for the site.”
However, Clive Bowley of the Canterbury Heritage Design Forum on Kingsmead spoke against the development saying: “The sheer scale and ugly design makes the scheme unacceptable.
“The design is simply dreadful and fails to respect the character and environment of the area.”
A document before the planning committee states there are wider implications for the area including “amenity picnic area and benches, pathways, table tennis area, toddlers play area, tree planting, landscaping, cycle parking, boundary fencing and gates…designed to enhance the publicly accessible green space at Kingsmead Field”.
Planning permission was given to the scheme subject to certain conditions being met.