Out-Law News 1 min. read

Kent council resolves to grant permission for Kings Hill third phase

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council has resolved to grant outline planning permission for the 635-home third phase of redevelopment at the site of a former World War II airfield at Kings Hill in Kent.

Real estate investment trust the Liberty Property Trust and Kent County Council applied to the Borough Council in April 2013 for permission for the mixed-use redevelopment of 38 hectares of land to the south west of West Malling.

The proposals included the demolition of existing buildings, including the Kent County Council supplies depot, and the construction of up to 635 new homes, a primary school, and a skate park. New open spaces, formalised car parking and an extension to the existing Kings Hill Community Centre were also included in the plans.

Local policy seeks the provision of 40% affordable housing in the area. However, a planning officer's report (72-page / 382 KB PDF) said that, bearing in mind the UK government's emphasis in national planning policy on prioritising "viability and speedy delivery of housing", and "in an endeavour to meet the test of the sustainable development with a nature of development not out of character with the existing character of Kings Hill, the provision of 17.5% [affordable housing] is more fitting than a provision closer to 40%".

The scheme comprises the third phase of development at the 265 hectare Kings Hill site. Development at the wider site has been ongoing since the 1990s. Most of the 2,750 homes granted permission in the two earlier phases of development have already been built, as part of a new community including a central retail and office area, a community centre, two primary schools, a country park and a golf club.

The phase 3 proposals were on the agenda for discussion at a meeting of the Borough Council's planning committee for the area last week. According to a statement on the Kings Hill community's website, the committee voted unanimously to grant permission for the plans.

“I am very pleased that there was unanimous approval of our plans for Kings Hill and it is gratifying to receive further endorsement of our approach to community building from Michael Cassidy, Chairman Designate of the Ebbsfleet Garden City Corporation when he commented at a property event that the quality and diversity of what we call our ‘garden village’ has many of the elements he would like to see for the Garden City," said Liberty’s managing director Andrew Blevins.

“We are very proud of what we have done at Kings Hill and the quality of the development was endorsed recently by The Daily Telegraph when it named Kings Hill as one of the best places to raise a family in the UK,” added Blevins.

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