A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Maidstone as well as general information that may be useful if you are considering renting office space in the town.
History & Geography
Set in the county of Kent in South East England, Maidstone, which sits on the River Medway where it is joined by the River Len, is one of the most idyllic towns in the region. Maistone’s location has meant that it has been the site of human settlements for centuries. During the Roman occupation of Britain Maidstone sat on the important road from Watling Street to Hastings, making it a strategically important settlement. Following the Norman conquest of England Maidstone remained important, being used by the Normans as an administrative centre and gathering point for regional assemblies. During the Middle Ages two hospitals were built in Maidstone to care for the welfare of travelers, and in the 13th century a palace for the Archbishop of Canterbury was built on the banks of the River Medway. During this period the town’s economy thrived from the trade on the surrounding rivers and tributaries. The waterways also allowed many mills to spring up in the area,. These were used for many purposes including corn grinding, fulling, and papermaking. The quarrying of sandstone has also always been a bulwark of the Maidstone economy and continues to this day. Maidstone remained important over the subsequent centuries and played an important role during the English Civil War. The Battle of Maidstone in 1638 saw Parliamentary forces seize the towns from Royalists after heavy fighting. During the 18th and 19th centuries Maidstone continued to prosper and expand. The local economy was boosted by the staging of troops near the town and the establishment of the Army Riding School nearby. During WWI and WWII the town became an RAF centre and a administrative hub for the nearby airfields. It was bombed by the Luftwaffe and was also a target for the V1 and V2 rockets. Today Maidstone has lost many of its industries except for light manufacturing and the service sector. The town now incorporates many outlying villages and areas and due to its beauty many live in Maidstone and commute into London.
Today the service industry is the largest in Maidstone’s economy, however there are a number of outlying industrial estates which provide many jobs for the area’s residents. The northwest side of the town, Aylesford, is the site of the largest paper recycling factory in Europe, reminiscent of the days when papermaking was a staple of the Maidstone economy. In fact Maidstone is still a centre of the packaging and paper industry, and many high-tech firms associated with these industries have set up in the area. Many of these companies also have a presence in the town centre, which has the largest office centre in the county. The loudspeaker manufacturing giant KEF still operates a large site in Maidstone and in fact used to manufacture a model of speaker named after the town. Furthermore, Maidstone is a significant retail centre for the region, with the town ranked as one of the top five shopping centres in South East England. The Mall Maidstone and Fremlin Walk are the two main shopping centres in the town, and attract visitors from across South East England. Recently a new development, the Lockmeadow Centre was opened, which features restaurants, nightclubs, a bowling alley, and a multiplex cinema. Maidstone is a popular destination for a night out and has a leisure industry worth approximately GBP 75 million per year.
As well as its thriving retail economy and nightlife, many visitors come to Maidstone simply for its idyllic surroundings and to explore the Kentish countryside surrounding the town. Maidstone is a popular base for ramblers and hikers as well as boaters taking advantage of the rivers and tributaries surrounding the town. The town also has a thriving theatre scene based in the two main theatres, the Hazlitt Theatre and the Exchange Studio. The Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery is also a popular location for visitors, and features more than 600,000 artefacts and specimens. The museum’s exhibitions are based on the history of the town and the surrounding area. Maidstone is represented by the Maidstone United football team which was formed in 1897. The team currently play in the Isthmian League Division One South. The club are currently in the process of building a 3,000 capacity stadium.
Much of Maidstone’s history is connected to the river which flows through the town and the trade garnered from that. Today however the River Medway is not used as a viable transportation alternative, rather by pleasure boaters and others. Maidstone is served by three main railway stations today, Maidstone East, Maidstone West, and Maidstone Barracks. Of these Maidstone East is the only one which currently has direct service to London. The town is also served by a comprehensive bus system provided by Arriva Southern Counties and Nu Venture. Additionally Chalkwell Coaches operate a direct bus to London.
Currently Maidstone has the largest amount of office space in the county, and is seen as a viable and of course cheaper alternative to London. The town’s transport links to the capital also boost its appeal, as does a highly skilled workforce. On average office space in Maidstone costs 60 percent less than office space in London, and there is 500,000 square feet of space currently the pipeline, with Maidstone being one of the few places in the county attracting speculative development. Eclipse Park is the latest out of town office development to be delivered in the area, featuring 400,000 square feet of Grade A office space.