Hendy Group has secured planning permission which will allow it to transform a former John Lewis store into a multi-brand car dealership.
Work is expected to get underway soon to transform the vacant site in Kingstanding Business Park, Tunbridge Wells, after planning officials gave the green light to an application made on behalf of the AM100 car retail group in January.
According to Business Insider, the development will bring together four car and commercial vehicle (CV) brands in one retail location when it opens its doors to customers in early 2024.
Hendy will also relocate its sales, parts and servicing departments from nearby Mount Ephraim – where it has Ford, Mazda and Suzuki dealerships – to the new facility as part of an operation.
Mount Ephraim will close ahead of redevelopment as for housing, it added.
Commenting on Hendy’s plans for the site of the former John Lewis at Home store, which closed in April 2021, group chief executive Paul Hendy told Business Insider: “We can now progress our plans to bring this major empty retail site, which is close to other motor retailers and the A21, back into use. It will ensure the area remains a destination for eager car buyers.
“Modern manufacturers – and our customers – rightly expect ever higher standards. Unfortunately, the obvious physical constraints of our current site on Mount Ephraim mean we can’t make the improvements we need to put in place. Our only option is to relocate, and the vacant John Lewis site now provides us with the ideal solution.”
Hendy added: “It was great that members recognised our commitment to retaining jobs in the borough and provide sufficient space to expand our operations to accommodate our car and van franchises.”
Back in December Hendy Group published annual financial results for 2021 which showed a 58.1% uplift in pre-tax profits and 27.2% turnover growth in a “turbulent” climate for car retail.
In February Paul Hendy hailed 2023 as the car retailer’s “biggest year” as he celebrated the successes of its top-performing staff at an annual awards event, however.
As well at its plans for Tunbridge Wells, the group has recently relocated its Moke franchise, added a Maserati franchise and expanded its relationship with Lotus Cars.