Canterbury City Council propose renovation of St George’s Street
A renovation of St George’s Street has been proposed by Canterbury City Council. If given the final go ahead, the project would be expected to cost £640,000. This is the equivalent of 481,203 Greggs steak bakes.
Changes to the city’s high street would include the removal of fully grown trees to be replaced with semi-mature trees to avoid potential root damage to paving, the provision of free WiFi for shoppers along the street, and the creation of event spaces.
The council has stated that rejuvenation is required for the high street to modernise its appearance and increase its potential to host various events in the day and evening.
Councillor Ben Fitter-Harding, Chairman of the Regeneration and Property Committee, said: “St George’s Street is one of our busiest shopping areas and a key entrance to the city, but it has declined in recent years. It’s not time to invest in improving its appearance and character.”
Roughly nine and a half million tourists visited Canterbury for both day and overnight trips in 2013. This was an increase of four per cent on the previous year. In total the 9,625,000 visitors spent £370,522,000 in 2013. This is according to the most recent release of The Economic Impact of the Kent Visitor Economy that came out in February 2015.
Public consultation on the plans began on Monday 24 October, and some have already aired their views on social media. The Canterbury Residents Group on Facebook has featured a range of views, including queries regarding the cost of trees and where money may be better spent.
Margaret Rutherford said, “do trees cost that much? Compared to other places around the city, the paving is not that bad.”
The issue of Canterbury’s homelessness has also been raised. Kirsty Maving said, “let’s home out homeless first. Sorry to be pessimistic but catch a life before the city has a facelift!”
In the council’s 2016/17 Budget, homelessness is said to cost Canterbury City Council a total of £651,461. This includes employee costs, supplies and services, transfer payments, and internal recharges.
Some have expressed very positive reactions to the plans. Kara Francis said, “if it is anything like the King’s Mile, I say woohoo!” Gwyn Hockridge added, “would be surprised if that stays on budget, like the idea though.”
The public consultation is due to end on Friday 9 December and takes the form of an online survey which can be found here. The 14-question survey includes the opportunity for the public to have their say on the proposed overall appearance of St George’s Street and priorities for change.