For years the southern Kingsmead area of Canterbury has been one of the city’s most unattractive.
It consisted of a windy tarmac coach park, a depot for bin trucks and some yellow brick housing overlooking one of the busiest roundabouts in the city.
But next week the council’s planning committee will be able to breathe new life into it by giving the nod to the city’s most significant urban renewal project since the 1990s when work began redeveloping Whitefriars.
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The committee is poised to grant planning permission for the massive redevelopment, known as the Canterbury Riverside scheme.
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.
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.
It says redevelopment is necessary “in order to enable the site to be developed in order to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the area”.
A document going 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”.
The report goes on: “The site’s enhanced permeability will not only support occupiers of the development, but represents a significant benefit to the surrounding community, who will be able to access environmentally pleasant and safer routes away from Sturry Road and its heavily trafficked environment.
“The development will provide enhanced access for the wider community to the river corridor and open space beyond. this will provide a particular benefit for elements of the surrounding community such as the elderly and young children.”
The planning committee is being recommended to approve the scheme. It meets in the Guildhall at 6.30pm on Tuesday.