Spirit of Sittingbourne
A mixed-use town centre redevelopment project that will transform the town of Sittingbourne is underway. Focused around Sittingbourne Railway Station, the joint venture between U+I, Quinn Estates and Swale Borough Council will see approximately £30m invested into the area.
The focal point of the scheme is the remodelling the station forecourt to provide an impressive welcome to Sittingbourne, improve traffic flow and provide a civic square, with a cinema, hotel and restaurants. It will also improve connectivity to the existing High Street. Additionally, current planning consent includes permission for 213 apartments to be constructed across 3 residential sites with work expected to commence in late 2018.
Premier Construction recently caught up with Simon Weston, development director for Quinn Estates, for an update on how work is progressing:
“Construction works have now commenced on the wider project with the first phase of highway works, funded by the Local Growth Fund, now complete. The second phase, which includes the works outside the station are due to commence in spring 2018.
“These highway works include the re-routing of a short section of the A2; the main road from London that passes through the centre of Sittingbourne. These re-routing works are in order to free up some land to allow the construction of a completely new civic square, along with two separate buildings that will house the cinema, hotel and restaurants.”
The retail park is also nearing completion with tenant fit outs due to commence soon ahead of a scheduled summer 2018 opening. This will be followed by construction of the hotel, cinema, restaurants and new civic square which are due to be finished in late summer 2019. Works to commence the re-routing of the road are anticipated to commence in spring of this year and will be the standout construction element of the overall project. Simon added:
“The A2 we are diverting follows the course of the old ‘Watling Street’ an ancient roadway from Roman times. The number of utilities and services that have accumulated underneath this roadway over the years is considerable. Many of these services have required to be altered, diverted and in some cases abandoned in order to facilitate not only the re-routing of the roadway, but also the construction sites themselves.
“Coordinating these alterations, diversions and abandonments has been an incredibly difficult and time-consuming task. This is due not only to the complexities of the physical services, but also due to the levels of engagement required with the utility providers in order to programme the work in the correct sequence, ensuring that the necessary statutory and regulatory procedures are in place at all times.”
The economic benefits as a result of the regeneration of Sittingbourne town entre will be hugely significant for the area. It is estimated that the around £330m will be generated over the next ten years and around 700 jobs will be created within phase 1 alone. To keep up to date and follow the progress of Spirit of Sittingbourne, please visit spiritofsittingbourne.com.