The proposals to redevelop the former Nasons site in the heart of Canterbury have received a major vote of approval, with almost three quarters of visitors to the recent public exhibition of the Biggleston Yard plans being very supportive.
Of the 365 who attended the public exhibition on 5 and 6 December, held at the former Nasons department store on the High Street, more than 74 per cent of those leaving feedback were very supportive.
A further 17 per cent were quite supportive, with only four per cent describing themselves as opposed or quite opposed with the remainder being undecided or neutral.
The public exhibition outlined the Biggleston Yard proposals, which would reconnect the former Nasons site to its industrial past and link the High Street to St Margaret’s Lane and Jewry Lane via a retail arcade and public open space.
The proposed redevelopment would offer a focus on food and drink by incorporating a ‘market hall’ in the former Foresters Hall, alongside commercial retail and office space, plus 28 serviced apartments, a further 38 residential units and space for community uses.
When visitors were asked whether they thought there was a ‘need for the mix of retail, leisure, residential, managed apartments and commercial space proposed at Biggleston Yard?’, 88 per cent who completed the feedback forms said ‘yes’. Only five percent said ‘no’, with the remaining seven per cent ‘undecided’
Manuel Alsoni, Chief Executive Officer of Setha Group, which owns the site, said: “We would like to thank everyone who took the time to come and see our plans, meet the team behind the project, and give us feedback.
“We are continuing to refine our proposals and will now consider all the feedback before submitting a planning application as soon as possible next year on how we would breathe exciting new life into the site now vacant for more than a year.”
Simon Child, founder of Child Graddon Lewis, one of the two award-winning firms of architects working on the Biggleston Yard project, added: “In many traditional town and city centres, retailing is struggling, yet people still love to meet friends and family in exciting environments, especially those offering high-quality and fresh experiences.
“There is no shortage of new retail and leisure businesses who understand how to engage customers through bricks and mortar as well as online. The challenge is finding the right environment and creating a distinctive design that tells a place’s interesting story.
“Canterbury is one of the few cathedral cities with a large industrial site at its heart and the scheme’s design reflects this and all within a medieval street pattern to create a vibrant new distinctive destination.”
Members of the public can provide their comments on the project via www.BigglestonYard.info until Sunday 21 December.