• This also means that the prospects for Kent’s county town Maidstone show grounds for optimism.

    Whilst it is true that employment has declined with significant job losses in the public sector and that output has grown more slowly in the town than in Kent overall, nevertheless, there has been recent private sector jobs growth and Maidstone district has had the largest growth in population in the county over the last year.

    The property market in Maidstone is certainly very active. The town centre has undergone significant change, with office space being replaced through residential conversions and a number of residential schemes coming forward, with major house builders active on sites in the centre and on the edge of town and the surrounding villages. However, although this has grown the residential population this has also resulted in a reduction of quality office stock available to new occupiers.

    There are a number of interesting developments on the commercial side such as the Council’s new work and meeting space – The Business Terrace which now has three of Kent’s ‘Top 30 under 30’ among the 23 entrepreneurs working from its 11 offices.

    However, there is a need to ensure that Maidstone is able to offer employment opportunities to match the growing population. Commercial development is necessary to ensure Maidstone can deliver employment opportunities to retain young people through apprenticeships and training and that there are opportunities for a highly skilled labour force that as a region, we want to attract and retain.

    Given Maidstone’s strategic and geographic importance within the county, we anticipate that the property market will remain active across both commercial and residential sectors. The town’s Economic Development Strategy is clear about the priorities of regenerating the town centre and continuing to invest in infrastructure, and this should continue to hold Maidstone and its property market in good stead.

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