Conservative councillor, Bruce Pollington has sparked a row between the Tories and LibDems over the future of Maidstone Prison in this week's Kent Messenger. Pollington's blog talks about using the prison site for other uses as it is prime town centre land. In the KM ke goes onto suggest a shopping mall...
Firstly, the prison is a prime town centre site with reasonably good public transport links, it is next door to Maidstone East Station and the 101 bus route to Medway. This means that visitors can visit more easily, Pollington's ideas would disadvantage these people severely.
Secondly, what Maidstone does not need is more retail malls. The seat of the Peasant's Revolt (Havock Lane) was demolished to build Fremlin Walk. Fremlin Walk is the most faceless and boring shopping mall possible. It is filled with 50 chainstores that do not contribute to the town's character or economy in any meaningful way.
Finally, Maidstone's architectural heritage has taken repeated bashings from developers. There is little left now and what is left should be preserved is possible.