Asda deal signed in the nick of time

Contributed by admin on Mar 18, 2005 - 09:43 AM


Agreements over land exchanges needed for Folkestone town centre’s major facelift were signed at the 11th hour o­n Wednesday evening (16 March).

With the exchanges agreed, all the land needed for the redevelopment is now in the control of developers, Bride Hall – heralding a major milestone in the progress of plans for a new, multi-million pound shopping centre.

The land exchange agreements were signed just before midnight o­n Wednesday to beat Chancellor Gordon Brown’s budget announcement that commercial concessions for disadvantaged areas – including parts of Folkestone – were being withdrawn from midnight. The concessions had included the waiving of stamp duty o­n commercial properties and the 11th hour signing has saved many thousands of pounds o­n the project costs.

Work o­n the creation of a new shopping complex is due to start this summer.

The Bride Hall development will bring a major Asda store to the town along with other well-known High Street names and a new 550-space car park. The new shopping centre is due to open by Christmas 2006.

Council Leader Robert Bliss said the signing of all the land exchange agreements marked a major milestone.

“For the first time in 10 years, all the land required for the development is now in the control of the developers. Although the redevelopment of the town centre has taken a number of years, our vision had never changed and it is fantastic that there is nothing to now stand in the way of turning that vision into reality.�

Cllr Shirley Newlands, District Secretary of Economic Development, said the scheme had been well worth waiting for. “It will inject new life and confidence into the town and create at least 500 new jobs – which is a real boost to the local economy.�

Alistair Shaw, Managing Director of Bride Hall, said getting the exchange agreements signed in such a short space of time hadn’t been without its problems.

“Although we were almost at the point of signing, we had to move very quickly to beat the Chancellor’s midnight deadline.

“People were kept from their beds - but it was all worthwhile.  We are now looking forward to taking this scheme forward and bringing an exciting new shopping centre to Folkestone.

“Shepway Council has been a great partner for us and has played a pivotal role in getting this development off the ground.�