Canadian coffee shop and restaurant chain Tim Hortons proposal for Broadstairs Retail Park

Canadian chain Tim Hortons is heading for Westwood (Image istock)

A ‘Tim Hortons’ coffee shop/restaurant and drive-through at Broadstairs Retail Park that is expected to create 30 full time and 40 part time jobs is likely to be approved by Thanet council.

The Canadian food chain, launched in Ontario in 1964, began to expand to the UK in 2017. It currently has 29 venues open and more  due to open across the UK with the nearest site to Thanet currently in Thurrock.

The Thanet outlet would be the first in Kent and shares the same retail park as Tesco Extra, Currys/PC World, The Range and Wickes. The park will also be the new base for the Thanet covid vaccination team which is moving out of the Saga premises this weekend.

The chain offers food including doughnuts, bagels, burgers and pancakes and a variety of coffees and cold drinks.

The proposal includes new road markings to reduce congestion, a paved seating area, a drive thru lane, 22 car park spaces (including 2  disabled spaces), 3 motorcycle spaces and a sheltered cycle stand. There is also a proposed pedestrian pathway.

A planning application submitted to Thanet council describes the company, saying: “Tim Hortons is a relatively new entrant to the UK market and can best be described as a restaurant chain with a coffee and bakehouse offer.

“The brand was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It has since grown into Canada’s most loved brand with over 4,500 stores from coast to coast. Known affectionately as ‘Timmy’s’, it is a place famous for its fresh coffee and baked goods and is visited by more than 5.3m Canadians daily.

“Tim Hortons opened its first store in the UK in 2017 and (at the time of writing) has 29 units across all four countries of the UK, with more opening soon. Its current focus is to expand its drive-thru model across the UK, including at the application site.

“The Tim Hortons offer is different from that provided by the likes of McDonalds, KFC and Burger King and is comparable to that provided by coffee shop operators such as Costa or Starbucks, with a substantial part of the offer comprising hot and cold beverages and bakery goods, including an extensive choice of donuts. The hot food offer includes paninis and ‘melts’ as well as hot sandwiches and wraps, again similar to other coffee shop operators.

“There is also a greater emphasis on the ambiance of the restaurant facilities, encouraging customers to dine in.”

The Broadstairs venue would be  260 sq. m (2,800 sq. ft) with its length approximately parallel to Margate Road. Internally, the coffee shop/restaurant would accommodate seating for approximately 96 customers, together with a waiting and queuing area, customer toilets and back of house/kitchen area.

There would be both drive-thru and pedestrian access and would open (for trade) from 6am-11pm seven days a week.

Planning officers recommend approval in a report to planning committee members, saying: “The proposal will result in the loss of open space, along with the loss of a small number of trees, however the submitted landscaping plan shows that new tree/hedge/shrub planting is proposed, along with the establishment of a wildflower meadow.

“Benches are proposed along the existing southern footpath, which will enable the appreciation of these spaces whilst also providing additional seating space within the town centre, between Broadstairs Retail Park and Westwood Cross.

“Whilst the loss of the open space and 5 trees will result in some environmental harm, the proposed landscaping, which incorporates the planting of 10 trees, is considered to, on balance, enhance the biodiversity and landscape appearance of the site.

“Overall it is considered that the economic benefits to the town centre from the erection of this additional restaurant unit are considered to outweigh the limited environmental harm, and as such it is recommended that members approve the application, subject to safeguarding conditions and the signed legal agreement securing the electric vehicle charging spaces.”

The application will be discussed on January 19. The planning meeting starts at 7pm.