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Lockmeadow gets go-ahead for foodhall, play area and terrace despite concerns

Thursday 11th February 2021

PLANS for the second phase of the council-owned Lockmeadow leisure complex has been given the go-ahead.
Maidstone Borough Council's policy and resources committee last night agreed to food hall, an outside terrace and a children's play area.
MBC bought the lease back for the site in 2019 for £19m in a hush hush deal with Kames Capital.
Since then, the complex has largely been shut because of COVID-19.
Some elected members questioned the detail of the plans, particularly for the foodhall which council officers claim will attract local restaurant businesses.
Labour's Cllr Paul Harper warned that "£900,000 is a considerable investment" in one phase and suggested a deferral.
Fellow Labour member Cllr Malcolm McKay said: "I want this to be a success...the restaurant/foodhall makes sense but what doesn't make sense is why we want to do it now when we are in the midst of a pandemic."
Liberal Democrat Cllr Nick de Wiggondene-Sheppard said: "This is now a an existing asset and we have a responsibility to make it work in the long term."
Fellow Liberal Democrat Cllr David Nhagi warned committee members that the council should wait for a foodhall contract before "we start spending vast amounts of money".

The committee passed the recommendation to proceed to phase two.