The Mall Maidstone

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The Mall Maidstone
Chequers Centre, Maidstone (geograph 3385217).jpg
Entrance to The Mall
Location Maidstone, Kent
Opening date 1976[1]
Owner The Mall Fund
No. of stores and services 101 [2]
Total retail floor area 535,000 sq ft (49,700 m2)
No. of floors 3
Parking 1040 spaces

The Mall Maidstone is a covered shopping centre in Maidstone, the county town of Kent. Together with the Fremlin Walk shopping centre, which is uncovered, it is one of the two primary shopping venues within the town centre.

The centre has 535,000 square feet (49,700 m2) of floor space, ranking it as the joint 60th largest shopping centre in the UK according to a 2008 survey by Retail Week.[3]

History[edit]

View from the lower level of The Mall Maidstone

The Mall Maidstone was built in 1976 as the 'Stoneborough Centre,' with a 7 storey office block on the top, named 'Stoneborough House.' In the 1990s, the shopping centre was rebranded as 'Chequers Shopping Centre,' to coincide with works on the main entrances and refurbishment work that was going on at the time. The office block above retained its original name.

In 2006, the centre was purchased by The Mall Fund,[4] who once again set about refurbishing the centre with their own, distinctive pink corporate branding. An agreement was subsequently signed that Maidstone Borough Council would move into the office block on top of the centre, after extensive refurbishment of that, and the construction of a 'Gateway' reception area. The council signed a 99-year lease and took up residence in May 2007, with the block renamed 'Maidstone House'.

Today, the Mall Maidstone hosts a wide variety of shops, from independent retailers to big chain names like Sports Direct and BHS. It is a key part of the town centre, also containing the Chequers Bus Station, retaining the old name, which serves as the main bus terminus for the town. In December 2012 the Arriva Travel Shop closed after trading for many years in the centre.[5] In June 2013 the Beales Outlet store shut after only a year in the centre. it was in the largest store in The Mall.[6]

Plans are currently being put together for a regeneration of The Mall and its surrounding areas. This is thought to include: A new bus station, new exterior entrances, A new department store and a complete modernisation of the centre's inside appearance.[7]

Chequers Bus Station[edit]

Entrance to the Chequers bus station

The town's main bus station is housed within the building, between the main shopping area and the Sainsbury's supermarket. The station takes the form of a two-way "tunnel" underneath the car park levels. Stops H1 to H5 are on the west side, and stops J1 to J6 are on the east side. There was also an Arriva travel shop which had closed in 2012 and remains empty[5]

The main operators are Arriva Southern Counties and Nu-Venture.

Buses run from the bus station to several destinations in the Maidstone area such as Barming and Park Wood, Buses also travel to destinations outside the local area such as the Medway Towns and Sittingbourne.

The bus station is managed by Maidstone Borough Council

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Domesday Reloaded: THE STONEBOROUGH CENTRE". BBC. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Westfield
  3. ^ "Top 100 UK Shopping Centres". Retail Week. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "Maidstone - The Mall Maidstone". Themall.co.uk. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Travel shop to shut". Kent Online. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Beales department store to close in Maidstone". Kent Online. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  7. ^ ' ' [1] ' '

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°16′23″N 0°31′34″E / 51.27306°N 0.52611°E / 51.27306; 0.52611