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9-lane bowling alley approved in Sittingbourne.

Published Friday 18 September, 2020
Last updated on Tuesday 29 September, 2020

Councillors have approved plans for a new 9-lane bowling alley in Sittingbourne.

The plans were submitted by The Light, the company behind the 8-screen cinema currently being fitted out in the new Bourne Place development between the high street and train station.

The decision gives permission to change the use of one of the ground floor restaurant units that will share an entrance with the cinema above.

The bowling alley will join the 63 bed Travelodge hotel, The Light Cinema, and restaurants Nando's and Loungers.

Cllr Roger Truelove, leader of the council, said:

“This is great news for the development, for Sittingbourne and the borough.

“A bowling alley is something different that broadens the appeal of the town to help attract more visitors, increase spending in the area and support the local economy, which is vital as the impact of the pandemic begins to be more widely felt.

“But it is through things like this – a business seeing the potential of Sittingbourne in the long run – that we can try to minimise the impact, so when things return to normal the town will be in a better position to thrive.”

Cllr Monique Bonney, cabinet member for economy and property at the council, said:

“This is really exciting news for Sittingbourne and should be a major attraction for the borough.

“When we formed the administration, Cllr Truelove and I met with The Light who mentioned other schemes of theirs with planned bowling alleys.

“For years, local people have been asking for a bowling alley, so we asked them to think about if it could work here. They did their research, agreed it was viable and came back with these plans.

“There were issues with needing to move around restaurant units, but Nandos were incredibly supportive, and Pizza Express are having their own well documented difficulties, so with a bit of effort from all involved, we’ve made it work

“It’s in all our interests – the council, the tenants, and local people - for us to have a more diverse offer that will be less dependent on restaurants than the original scheme.

“If we want our town centres to thrive, we need a broader offer to attract more visitors to support our local businesses and jobs.”

The Light Cinema CEO, James Morris commented:

“We’re delighted with the decision and excited to be opening a nine-lane bowling alley and retro arcade as part of our new leisure experience at Sittingbourne.

“Driven by the idea of creating a destination to Meet, Watch and Play, we think it will complement our unique social and meeting spaces, eight-screen cinema with recliners and couples seats, and our street food style dining experiences perfectly.

“We would also like to thank Swale Council for their support, and we can't wait to welcome everyone to The Light very soon.”

The application was heard at last night’s planning committee.