Modernisation and regeneration have been quietly proceeding since around 2011, when the town was designated a Growth Point with the aim of delivering 10,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs by 2026.
A £3.5million high street regeneration project was completed in 2013, with the creation of Jubilee Square – home to markets and events – and historic Remembrance Square.
Now a £3million investment is poised to give the neglected Gabriel’s Hill and Week Street areas a new lease of life too.
Next year a revamped Maidstone East railway station should be opened, with a new public square and Kent County Council is hoping to buy a large disused post office site to trigger the development of new shops, offices and homes while also improving connections between buses, trains and taxis.
“Maidstone is finally seeing its potential unlocked by the numerous housing and regeneration projects, which are currently underway,” says Natalie Perry, sales and marketing director at Barratt Kent.
“These projects are bringing the jobs and homes that the town has needed for so many years; finally putting it on a level playing field with its neighbouring towns of Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells, rather than being known as their ‘ugly sister’.”
Lower property prices than at Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells, where average semi-detached house prices are around £518,000 and £445,000 respectively, have encouraged families and first-time buyers to the town, too.
The average price of a semi-detached house in Maidstone is around half the price at £240,000 – although train journeys to central London take an hour and 20 minutes compared with around 40 minutes from Sevenoaks and an hour from Tunbridge Wells.
Yet Maidstone has better road links than its rivals, with the M20 nearby running down to the coast and the Channel Tunnel and up to the M25 and London.
With plans for more local jobs it’s no surprise that new developments are springing up, such as Saxon Place in nearby Harrietsham and The Orchards in Allington – both by Barratt Homes.
“With Maidstone’s town centre being revitalised into a retail and leisure destination in its own right, and the potential which existed to provide much needed housing in the town, we couldn’t ignore the opportunities for development here,” says Natalie.
Three-bedroom homes have recently been released at Saxon Place for £336,995 to be reserved off-plan (08447 70032; barratthomes.co.uk) and the development will also have two and four-bedroom homes…