It is proposed to bring forward a sustainable community – comprising new public facilities including small retail outlets to serve local residents and a primary school within the centre of the development – through a landscape focused masterplan-led approach. The proposals will seek to achieve a range of benefits.
Adopting a landscape-led approach, the designs include prioritising green links, open spaces, maintaining existing public rights of way and enhancing ecological features to create opportunities for new habitats. Landscape features will accommodate community play areas, allotments, informal incidental open spaces and integrated surface water management systems.
The site is very well screened through existing trees and hedgerows, meaning views of the scheme would be limited from the surrounding area.
Almost 10 hectares of the site will be given over to publicly accessible open space, woodland and areas to support biodiversity enhancements. A new 2.5 hectare (6 acres) community park with a range of play and recreation facilities will be at the heart of the scheme. This will be linked with other open spaces via a series of connecting footpaths and greenways. The existing woodlands within the site will be retained and appropriately managed, with a network of trees preserved throughout the site as part of the green corridors.
New homes – including affordable homes – are designed to serve the needs of local people, including the provision of open space to live and play, good access to local facilities and a place residents can be proud to call their home.
More than two hectares of the site will be dedicated to a two-form primary school just a few minutes’ walk from the local centre, helping families to truly be a part of their community.
These proposals would continue to underpin the reinvestment programme into new facilities, enabling the transformation of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany East Malling (NIAB East Malling) into a modern research facility.
This would include new and refurbished scientific infrastructure and consolidated research fields for the 21st century and beyond. It would also enable sufficient investment to provide substantial annual grants to sustain high-level industry-led research aimed at tackling the impact of climate change on crop production and strengthening the nation’s food security.
The council plays a key role in ensuring new housing and development in the borough is as sustainable as possible. Planning policies are in place to ensure new growth takes into account sustainability matters, such as reducing the need to travel, minimising energy and water consumption and the ability to harness energy from renewable sources.
Planning policies and development allocations are being updated in the emerging Local Plan to include developments that maximise opportunities to reduce energy demands; maximise opportunities where practicable for sustainable travel, including contributions towards off-site infrastructure as well as walking and cycling routes and infrastructure, that reflect the amount of movement generated and the nature and location of each site.
The council’s ambition is that major developments will, where practicable and proportionate, provide opportunities for habitat creation and where possible maximise opportunities for net biodiversity gains on site.