Canterbury City Council granted permission for the building of a new ‘leisure quarter’ including a 5-screen Curzon cinema and 8 cafes, bars and restaurants.
The plans were given the go-ahead yesterday by officials and are set to make waves for Canterbury’s cultural and entertainment scene.
The Riverside complex will stand on a disused housing estate and car sales lot that has now been cleared for use – this is opposite the Northgate Medical Practice roundabout.
The site costs £115m and will also be home to 189 new homes, 493 student houses a 50,000 square foot commercial space, a public space for events and cultural activities as well as 220 parking spaces, alongside a canoe house and pontoon.
The new multiplex Curzon cinema will be able to hold up to 900 people.
Developers say that the development looks out on Canterbury’s waterways: “The development has a new public square at its heart and overlooks the River Stour that runs through the city centre.
“Restaurants and bars wrap around the new public square, with demised external seating and sufficient areas to host pop-up events to animate and enliven the public realm.”
Swipe through our gallery below to see artist impressions of the area!
Some believe this area needs the change but has has backlash from residents, including Ms Amanda Sparkes, Minutes Secretary to the Canterbury Heritage Design Forum.
She said: “The area needs improving as this is right beside the visitors’ coach park – and gives a first impression to visitors.
“This is a 1960s style out-of-town development with a contextless design. The layout fails to create a sense of space around it or containment. The layout and development turns it back on the surrounding streets. It does not address Kingsmead Road or Sturry Road.
Despite this, she continued to criticise the design aspects of the plans, describing the restaurant units as ‘banal’ and “most odd” as they are due to look like wooden sheds and are “very different to anything else on the site.”
Ms Sparkes continues: “The design is modern commercial and the architecture is not offensive out of this context and out of Canterbury, but it could be better for Canterbury. There is a blatant disregard for the setting of the City.”
The developers have been contacted for a statement.