New-style Tesco Extra to anchor Dartford revamp

Tesco has won planning permission to develop an Extra hypermarket in the centre of Dartford in Kent.

The store forms the centrepiece of a£94 million regeneration project, which Tesco is carrying out in partnership with St James's Investments.

Dartford Borough Council resolved to grant outline planning permission for the scheme, which it hopes will finally allow the town centre to re-establish itself as a retail destination five years after it was decimated by the opening of nearby Bluewater.

Tesco corporate affairs manager Katherine Edwards said the 110,000 sq ft (10,220 sq) store would represent a new format for Tesco Extra, mixing food with a large range of non-food products. 'It will give people good reason to stay in Dartford to do their shopping,' she said.

The proposals are centred on Lowfield Street. In addition to the new-style Tesco Extra store, the 161,000 sq ft (14,955 sq m) project will include a range of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, 500 homes, health and community facilities and car parking. The retail units will face a pedestrianised market square, while the residential element will open out onto the town's Central Park.

St James's managing director Christopher Borkowski said: 'It is a tremendous opportunity to revive the fortunes of Dartford and offer its residents, businesses and visitors the attractive facilities they need and deserve. We now need to work together on the detailed designs.'