Mixed reaction to Gravesend Heritage Quarter plans following market trader meeting

Lesley Stedman.

Maureen Hafner.

The Atwal family (left to right): Amandeep, 7, Ramneet, 11, Rajinder, 45.

Jenny Aspinall.

First published in News
Last updated
This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

GRAVESEND Borough Market traders have given a mixed reaction to the major Heritage Quarter redevelopment plans following a meeting with the developer.

A group of traders spoke out against the proposals by Edinburgh House in News Shopper last month, but the mood was more favourable following a meeting with development manager Richard Hughes at the Old Town Hall on April 10.

Market Café worker Lesley Stedman said she was now more favourable towards the plans when News Shopper spoke to her on April 11.

The 49-year-old said: "Just the prospect of having new shops will hopefully bring new custom into the market.

"I hope they are right about that because nothing we can do is going to stop it."

Mozro Cares Baby Wear owner Maureen Hafner claims to be the oldest surviving trader in the market having been there 45 years.

She said: "In the long run it can only do the market good because we are not doing very well at the moment.

"It’s the worst it’s been in my time here."

"As long as it’s not all mouth and no trousers it’s ok."

The 59-year-old said concerns over parking access were partly allayed by promises to provide lay-bys so traders can drop off stock.

The adjacent Market car park will likely be out of action for around 14 months during the building work before being replaced by underground parking spaces.

The store managers of Gravesend Marks and Spencer and BHS have also written to the council pledging support for the scheme.

This Is Local London: Heritage Quarter

How St George's Square would look in the new Heritage Quarter

But the family behind Atwal Fashion are not so impressed.

Eleven-year-old Ramneet Atwal said: "We are still not convinced.

"While the development is going on it is just going to be too much of a mess and our business is not going to work while they are building outside."

Her mother Rajinder, 45, said: "Our concern is they are going to kill our business."

Aspinall’s pet supplies owner Jenny Aspinall, 58, added: "To think I am going to be put out of business by a regeneration plan that is no good anyway."

Nearby Melbourne Quay resident Bob Wright claimed to speak for others in the housing block in rejecting the plans, as residents posed with a banner reading "NO TO SLUM CITY!".

This Is Local London: Heritage Quarter protesters

Melbourne Quay residents protest against the Heritage Quarter plans 

He said: " This feels very much like a David and Goliath situation where a property developer keeps pushing ahead with little concern for the ordinary people who live here and care about the future of the town.

"Gravesend Heritage Quarter is an attractive and distinctive area and if these plans are ever built it would just look like so many other soulless places in the country.

"The council should be safeguarding and enhancing our Heritage Quarter not allowing it to be blighted with this out-dated scheme."

Edinburgh House published its latest proposals in September to spend £120 million regenerating the Western Quarter, Eastern Quarter and St Andrew’s Gardens while creating 800 jobs, 330 homes and generating £8 million spending every year.

As well as restaurants, cafés, a 50 bedroom hotel and underground parking, the plans include a multi-purpose Market Square, children’s play areas, a community centre and 330 apartments.

A Gravesend Council Regulatory Board meeting on April 30 will determine the outcome of the planning application.

Comments (4)

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1:21pm Sat 20 Apr 13

Irwin says...

This will ruin the Heritage Quarter if it does go ahead. It is unique in character and that will be lost as it will become anther standard concrete town. Tall buildings, no green spaces.
We certainly do not need more shops.
We need the existing ones made better quality.
Extra residents? Is there provision for extra services?
There will not be 800 jobs, rubbish.
They said twelve years ago when the High Street was 'regenerated' it would transform the area. It didn't. Times are worse now, financially.
Also residents directly affected by this long project should have some form of compensation for noise, dirt etc.
Both the Council and Edinburgh House expect them just to put up with it.
This will ruin the Heritage Quarter if it does go ahead. It is unique in character and that will be lost as it will become anther standard concrete town. Tall buildings, no green spaces. We certainly do not need more shops. We need the existing ones made better quality. Extra residents? Is there provision for extra services? There will not be 800 jobs, rubbish. They said twelve years ago when the High Street was 'regenerated' it would transform the area. It didn't. Times are worse now, financially. Also residents directly affected by this long project should have some form of compensation for noise, dirt etc. Both the Council and Edinburgh House expect them just to put up with it. Irwin
  • Score: 0

10:15am Mon 22 Apr 13

SFinch says...

Makes me laugh that residents of Melbourne Quay have the cheek to object to the planned building of apartments, when in fact they themselves live in an apartment block that rises to 6-7 storeys at the river front and completely blocks the views!

Plus I wouldn't describe 2 car parks as distinctive and worth saving! The word NIMBY springs to mind.
Makes me laugh that residents of Melbourne Quay have the cheek to object to the planned building of apartments, when in fact they themselves live in an apartment block that rises to 6-7 storeys at the river front and completely blocks the views! Plus I wouldn't describe 2 car parks as distinctive and worth saving! The word NIMBY springs to mind. SFinch
  • Score: 0

11:14am Mon 22 Apr 13

goldenbroomboy says...

SFinch wrote:
Makes me laugh that residents of Melbourne Quay have the cheek to object to the planned building of apartments, when in fact they themselves live in an apartment block that rises to 6-7 storeys at the river front and completely blocks the views! Plus I wouldn't describe 2 car parks as distinctive and worth saving! The word NIMBY springs to mind.
I have looked at these plans, and the words "Romanian town" springs to mind.
[quote][p][bold]SFinch[/bold] wrote: Makes me laugh that residents of Melbourne Quay have the cheek to object to the planned building of apartments, when in fact they themselves live in an apartment block that rises to 6-7 storeys at the river front and completely blocks the views! Plus I wouldn't describe 2 car parks as distinctive and worth saving! The word NIMBY springs to mind.[/p][/quote]I have looked at these plans, and the words "Romanian town" springs to mind. goldenbroomboy
  • Score: 0

4:10pm Mon 22 Apr 13

Irwin says...

SFinch wrote:
Makes me laugh that residents of Melbourne Quay have the cheek to object to the planned building of apartments, when in fact they themselves live in an apartment block that rises to 6-7 storeys at the river front and completely blocks the views!

Plus I wouldn't describe 2 car parks as distinctive and worth saving! The word NIMBY springs to mind.
Melboune Quay has been there for a long time, part of an existing build.
There is a walkway at the rear of the properties for river walks.
The new buildings, however, will put West Street into perpetual shadow.
I am sure you would not like your front windows completely blocked out by another building.
No doubt more take aways will create more mess as it already does in the town.I do not see you objecting to that though.
[quote][p][bold]SFinch[/bold] wrote: Makes me laugh that residents of Melbourne Quay have the cheek to object to the planned building of apartments, when in fact they themselves live in an apartment block that rises to 6-7 storeys at the river front and completely blocks the views! Plus I wouldn't describe 2 car parks as distinctive and worth saving! The word NIMBY springs to mind.[/p][/quote]Melboune Quay has been there for a long time, part of an existing build. There is a walkway at the rear of the properties for river walks. The new buildings, however, will put West Street into perpetual shadow. I am sure you would not like your front windows completely blocked out by another building. No doubt more take aways will create more mess as it already does in the town.I do not see you objecting to that though. Irwin
  • Score: 0

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