Dartford Borough Council has appointed national developer and urban regeneration specialist, Muse Developments, as its development partner to lead the £75 million regeneration of the town’s Westgate area.
Muse was appointed following an open tender by the Council to find the most suitable partner. tp bennett has been appointed as architect and masterplanner of the scheme.
The mixed-use development incorporates a six-screen cinema at the heart of a new neighbourhood with bars, restaurants and family-friendly hospitality. The scheme will see the creation of a new public square, a 109-bed hotel, additional town centre parking for shoppers and 140 new homes.
The new homes – a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments above retail uses – will be spread among four new buildings. A range of tenures will be offered for these properties, including affordable units for leaseback to the Council.
Discussions are also underway with the local Clinical Commissioning Group to collaborate on the potential creation of a new health facility providing space for GPs, family healthcare, social care providers and mental-health services.
tp bennett is developing a concept that will deliver additional facilities to accommodate a growing community but also provide a new cultural quarter for the town, placing a vibrant public space at its heart and creating a destination within the region.
Yvette Hanson, tp bennett principal director, said:
“Our concept re-establishes the north south connection through the town and creates a cultural link between the new leisure uses and the existing theatre. The development of the new cultural quarter and a vibrant public square will support its growing community and further position Dartford as a new destination within commutable distance to London.”
John Robinson from Muse Developments, said:
“It is an honour to have been chosen by Dartford Borough Council to lead on a project which will have such a positive impact on the town. The site is very well-connected, being close to both the high street and train station, making it the ideal location for a lively and vibrant new community and cultural quarter.
“Dartford is a forward-thinking Council that wants to bring real change to the town centre. We look forward to working with them.”
The construction of a 109-bed hotel on the former Co-op store site will allow visitors to stay in a vibrant, central location which is also close to the station. Four upper floors will contain rooms in a mix of sizes, with larger units behind the building’s retained façade to make use of existing window openings and protect the character of the historic structure.
Brick and precast stone will be used throughout, providing visual strength and solidity, though the proportions will vary between buildings. A greater proportion of glass alongside other materials is proposed flanking the streets and public spaces that will be created, highlighting its sociable ‘high street’ character.
Muse Developments is looking to submit a planning application in Summer 2018 and to start on site by Spring 2019. Before then, Dartford Borough Council and Muse Developments will be holding public consultation events in early 2018.