Following a public vote and market research with stakeholders, Maidstone’s Lockmeadow finally has its chosen name for the food hall coming to the centre this autumn.
Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) says it was a close call between the final two names, which were put to vote after a survey narrowed down from six overall. The winner is Love Food at Lockmeadow with a vote count of 52.1% against Lockmeadow Street Food, which came in at 47.9%. See my thoughts on public votes at the end of this article*.
Alexa Kersting-Woods, Leisure Property manager for MBC, says: “We are really pleased with the choice, it was hard to find the perfect name and we liked both options in the final vote. Love Food at Lockmeadow will encompass all our tenants’ offerings and will live up to its name for those who like good food on the go.
“Love Food at Lockmeadow will be the perfect accompaniment to those looking for fresh, high quality food quickly. The pricing will be affordable and the choices of food will span the globe.”
Lockmeadow has been holding focus groups with local residents and businesses to gain their opinions on which foods they would like to enjoy in the food hall and will use that information to help select interested parties.
Kersting-Woods adds: “We are so excited about bringing this to Lockmeadow. The nature of the tenant collective within Love Food will allow new businesses to grow and flourish without taking on large premises with long-term fixed rent contracts.
“Our stakeholder groups have said they want local produced food and businesses where possible and we have been extremely pleased with the interest so far with more than 30 enquiries.
“We are striving to offer existing and new audiences a different eating out experience for the town. From light bites, sharing platters for friends and families meeting, or a coffee stop after a riverside walk and we want it to provide an offer for as many audiences as possible.”
MBC also has plans for outside dining and a new play area and working to a current timeline to open Love Food at Lockmeadow in autumn 2021.
Independent food caterers who would like an information pack and more details about the food hall are asked to please email: AlexaKerstingWoods@maidstone.gov.uk
The food hall is part of improvements to Lockmeadow which also includes an outside terrace for alfresco dining and a children’s play area between the stag sculpture and the River Medway.
*I confess to being in two minds about asking the public to vote on such matters. On one hand, I feel it’s a good idea to engage with the very people who will be visiting the food hall; but, on the other, I ‘fear’ a repeat of what nearly happened a few years back when a rather large sea-going polar scientific research ship would have been named Boaty McBoatface had the voters had their way. Eventually it was named the much more sensible Sir David Attenborough. But Boaty was not totally overlooked – one of the vessel’s three robotic underwater vehicles got the name instead.
I would stress this is a purely personal view, but I think Love Food at Lockmeadow is a bit, well, dull! But what do I know? I’m looking for an excuse to call something (Maid)Stone the Crows! But this isn’t it. By the way… I should point out that I quite liked Boaty McBoatface, but it is probably just as well that the compromise was reached.