More than 100 local residents took the opportunity to view the proposals to develop Waterside Park at a public exhibition held at the nearby Mercure Great Danes Hollingbourne Hotel.
The exhibition showcased plans for Waterside Park, which, if granted permission, would create manufacturing facilities, warehousing and logistics centres, alongside high quality international headquarters for two successful Kent companies at Junction 8 of the M20.
Members of the public, and representatives from the local Parish Councils and Maidstone Borough Council, were shown how 26 acres of the 42 acre plot boundaried by woodland, ponds, Old Mill Road and the A20, could be a new home for Automotive Distributors Ltd (ADL) and Scarab Sweepers Ltd.
The two companies, currently both based in Marden, have announced that they wish to invest at the site and relocate their combined current workforce of 450 people to Waterside Park. It is anticipated that by the time both companies are able to move they will employ more than 600 people, with the vast majority living in Maidstone.
Nick Yandle, Chief Executive of Gallagher Group, the company proposing the Waterside Park development, said: “Given the previous proposals for Kent International Gateway we are sensitive to the local concerns over the possibility that Waterside Park could open the way for development along the A20 towards Bearsted, and also in the direction of Leeds Castle.
“It’s our belief that Waterside Park satisfies a need for suitable employment land and Maidstone Borough Council will no doubt be considering how best to manage the scale of development at Junction 8 as part of its core strategy.”
While many attendees recognised the positive contribution that Waterside Park would play in supporting the local economy, a number did highlight their concerns over the possible visual impact, and levels of traffic on neighbouring roads.
Nick Yandle added: “As part of any further planning application we will be addressing Waterside Park’s impact and are confident that through a well designed site and re-engineering of the adjacent roundabout we will allay the concerns of the local community.”
Residents who were unable to attend the exhibition on Wednesday 26 June can visit www.WatersidePark-Maidstone.co.uk for information about the proposed development.