If you made it past the front page of today’s edition of the Sittingbourne News Extra without feeling slightly depressed and frustrated, well done.
The somewhat inevitable news of the likely scale of disruption we face when construction begins on the town centre regeneration plans was hard enough to swallow but then right out of blue there is a hotel which for some reason only known to the ever-so-clever people at U+I has been christened ‘The Tablet’.
Director of Regeneration at Swale Borough Council, Kathryn Carr confirmed as much saying
“It is true that our development partners Spirit of Sittingbourne are considering the provision of a 60 bed hotel in the town centre as part of their proposals. We understand that they are in commercial discussions with a national operator but nothing has been finalised.”
Personally I find this development cause for concern. Firstly, is it not a little late in the day to be considering such a major change to the plans, and secondly why on earth would anyone want this in place of the promised shops or restaurants and possibly at the expense of the public space.
Surely this isn’t what any of us signed up and its introduction at this late stage will only compound the already significant delays which these proposals have suffered to date which might appear entirely contrary to the expectations of a September 2016 start.
Regeneration director, Kathryn Carr explained that
“You can rest assured that should the proposals come forward the Spirit of Sittingbourne will be required to make a new planning application that will follow due process. At that stage the Council would process the application and this would include the statutory formal consultation and analysis of the impacts upon traffic and parking.”
No explanation has been forthcoming regarding the question of parking, however I doubt whether I’m alone in thinking 60-bedroom hotel is unlikely to be agreeable without some parking provision, but obviously there is no location within the immediate vicinity that could possibly accommodate this level of parking, oh wait a minute there is the new multi-storey, but they wouldn’t dream of using that now would they?
So does this latest development win any favour with you or are you simply too apathetic to care any longer, please let me know.