Work on the next phase of upgrade works to the public realm in Dartford is due to begin on 28 April.
The £12 million project aims to improve various areas of the town centre. Funding is from the Homes and Community Agency (£7.7 million) and Local Growth Fund (£4.3 million).
Phase 1a will cover Dartford High Street and include:
- resurfacing the High Street with natural stone paving
- improve access to the street on market days
In addition shop frontage improvements will be made via a separate funding pot.
Phase two will cover Instone Road and Highfield Road and include work on junctions to maintain accessible gateways to the town centre with Dartford stating: “This phase will involve the introduction of technology to manage queuing, link the junctions and to improve pedestrian and cycle flows”.
The Funding Agreement for the project was signed in August 2018 with the project is divided into five phases. Building work on Phase 1 covering Market Street begun in May 2019 and is now mostly complete. A time lapse video of the project can be seen here.
Granite paving is to be used for the latest phases of the project. Work was due to begin in January but was delayed after high initial tenders returns during the pandemic last year. The project was re-tendered with a £600,000 saving achieved according to Dartford Council.
After many years of decline steps are in place for Dartford to turn the corner. Many new homes are being built bringing millions to Dartford Council and footfall to town centre shops, pubs and restaurants. A cinema, shops and homes are planned at the former co op.
Lowfield Street is seeing new homes after a decades of inaction as Tesco sat on land.
Street upgrade measures aim to improve the look of the town centre, which alongside new residents moving to the town should assist town centre business. With so many newcomers to the town, there’s now a real chance for the struggling centre to thrive. Many shops are a quick walk away. Bluewater badly hurt the town centre, but there’s now some real sign of things being on the up.