A vibrant County Town continuously working towards a bright future
Maidstone is located in the heart of Kent, the County’s administrative and business capital, and is home to 150,000 people who support an economy generating £3 billion annual Gross Value Added (GVA). This is 50% more than Ashford and comparable to the whole of Medway combined.
Over the last ten years, the local economy has experienced steady growth in output per head and employment which currently stands at 72,000 employees employed in more than 7,000 businesses, making it easily the largest commercial centre in Kent.
Maidstone has large public and professional services sectors including legal, insurance, and accountancy firms, complementing a growing presence in the medical services and technology sectors. Maidstone town centre is a thriving retail and leisure destination which Experian estimates will overtake Guildford by 2017 in terms of retail spend, a reflection of the town's growing reputation as a place to live and visit. Maidstone is also the largest late night retail and leisure hub in Kent, providing 4,000 jobs and a night time economy worth £75m.
The main focus of commercial activity is urban Maidstone but there are significant hubs in rural Staplehurst, Marden and Lenham for example, reflecting the historical importance of Maidstone as an agricultural centre, more recent rural diversification and increasingly the land based industries of the future.
Despite the recession, levels of unemployment remain relatively low, reflecting a culture of entrepreneurship and a strong established business base.
Maidstone Borough Council is investing in the business and cultural infrastructure of the town. New start up units at the Parkwood Estate are under construction and a £2.2m transformation of Maidstone High Street is due to begin in January 2011. This will be a major first step towards a 21st century public realm designed to revitalise a busy thoroughfare as a series of public squares and meeting places, promoting the interests of the pedestrian and breathing new life into the historic High Street linking Maidstone's two major shopping zones and running down to the river Medway.
£2.2m Maidstone High Street Regeneration Project