Caribbean chain’s plan for city cen­tre restau­rant

Build­ings’ char­ac­ter part of aim to cre­ate ‘lit­tle es­cape’ Ex­clu­sive

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Front Page - By Joe Walker jwalker@thek­m­ @Joewalker17

A taste of the Caribbean is com­ing to Can­ter­bury if a national chain wins its bid to open a three-storey restau­rant in the shadow of the Cathe­dral.

Tur­tle Bay wants to open on the site of three neigh­bour­ing shop units in his­toric Butch­ery Lane, re­plac­ing the va­cant Oa­sis bar and Toni and Guy sa­lon, and the Op­ti­cal Ex­press op­ti­cians.

An ap­pli­ca­tion has been sub­mit­ted, but given the scale of the devel­op­ment it will likely be de­cided by the city coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee early next year.

If ap­proved, the restau­rant would be Tur­tle Bay’s first in Kent, with the near­est of its 37 cur­rent branches in Croy­don.

The firm’s prop­erty man­ager Ge­orge Waite says Can­ter­bury has long been on its radar.

“It has a rea­son­ably large and young as­pir­ing pop­u­la­tion,” he said in a let­ter sup­port­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion.

“The city cen­tre is busy and vi­brant and we be­lieve we can be­come some­thing dif­fer­ent to the cur­rent restau­rant of­fer in Can­ter­bury.

“We are typ­i­cally tar­get­ing city cen­tre lo­ca­tions which can of­fer a mix of day­time and evening ac­tiv­ity.

“We like build­ings that of­fer char­ac­ter and al­ways de­sign each restau­rant to suit the city, lo­ca­tion and build­ing it­self.”

Mr Waite says Tur­tle Bay is par­tic­u­larly keen on the Butch­ery Lane site be­cause it is close to the High Street but also “tucked away in an in­ter­est­ing lo­ca­tion with a num­ber of other restau­rants and bars in the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity”.

He added: “While the prop­erty may not be suit­able for re­tail use be­cause of in­fe­rior footfall and promi­nence, we be­lieve we can suc­ceed here by cre­at­ing a lit­tle es­cape in the cen­tre of the city.

“We trade very suc­cess­fully in sim­i­lar lo­ca­tions in Ox­ford, Bath and York, and be­lieve this site is quite com­pa­ra­ble.”

Butch­ery Lane is al­ready home to two pubs and two restau­rants, with the pro­posed Tur­tle Bay site op­po­site Mex­i­can eatery Club Bur­rito.

Real es­tate con­sul­tants Green and Part­ners first mar­keted the lo­ca­tion to restau­rant op­er­a­tors in the sum­mer of 2015, at­tract­ing more than 15 “swift re­sponses”.

Matt Beardall, a part­ner with the firm, says re­tail shops – re­ferred to in plan­ning terms as class A1 – were put off by how nar­row the his­toric street is: “It is our strong opin­ion that given the nar­row na­ture of the thor­ough­fare, A1 de­mand would be vir­tu­ally non-ex­is­tent and that a vi­brant and ex­cit­ing op­er­a­tor such as Tur­tle Bay would an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to not only Butch­ery Lane but the city in gen­eral.”

What do you think? Email ken­tishgazette@thek­m­group.

Li­brary image

A new Tur­tle Bay restau­rant

There are plans for a Tur­tle Bay in Butch­ery Lane

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