DTIZ project to transform Dover to face final planning vote tonight
DEVELOPERS behind the Dover Town Investment Zone are hoping to surmount the "final hurdle" of planning for the project tonight.
Laker Developments, Bond City and architects Lyons Sleeman and Hoare, have been working together on the St James Street site, which has been earmarked for development since 1997, since the collapse of a deal for Asda to move in as anchor tenant two years ago.
The new designs created by the team are based on the old street layout of the seafront site, coupled with a maritime theme.
The 108-bed Travelodge hotel, telecommunications mast and 10-metre LED screen at Woolcoomber and St James streets were granted permission last month, with construction expected to start by the end of this year and be complete in 2013.
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Now the team hopes to see the second phase for shops, eight homes, restaurants and parking also given the green light at this evening's Dover District Council (DDC) planning meeting.
Retail development expert John Laker said: "It is the final planning hurdle.
"There are several discussions going on with retailers and getting planning approval will add a level of certainty for them to take into consideration."
Mr Laker says if approval is given time will need to be set aside for call-in options or appeals. This could be followed by a process of Compulsory Purchase Orders to gain the remaining land for the scheme, possibly taking up to 12 months, and then an eight month period of access and street-works which will see some road closures and areas "stopped-up."
"Realistically work would start in Autumn 2013 and be completed in 18 months, " Mr Laker added.
The application requests permission for a flint "town wall," 390-space car park; public square with capability for 54 extra car places; eight shop units backing on to Townwall Street; two larger retail units at St James Street and Woolcomber Street; another five units between Dolphin Passage and the Castle Inn; a restaurant backing on to the River Dour; eight homes at the corner of Woolcomber and Castle streets; a kiosk at Flying Horse Lane and a park area at King Street.
The homes will be built after the shops and restaurant are completed to make them easier to sell. A report to councillors states: "The majority of this retail is anticipated to be non-food."
Plans also include a signal junction into the site from Woolcomber Street, a new road across the site to a public square at Fishmonger's Lane, new access to the site also at Woolcomber, traffic-calming measures, and pedestrian routes into the Market Square and links to De Bradelei Wharf.
DDC Head of Inward Investment Tim Ingleton said: "We are very optimistic. This is a stronger scheme than the Asda one in terms of diversity with retail, the hotel and restaurants.
"It is not reliant on one main operator like Asda, to provide the core foundation."