There is a significant and growing demand for new homes in Kent, as in much of the rest of the UK, and an outline planning application for a new, residential neighbourhood in Kings Hill was first submitted in 2013 by Liberty Property Trust UK and Kent County Council. The land included within the application has historically been zoned for commercial use. However, local supply and demand has altered and this change of land-use will see a re-balancing between commercial and residential uses. Space will still be retained for further expansion of the business park. Consultation on this third phase of development started in 2012 and continued into 2013 with residents and business occupants being encouraged to help shape the future of Kings Hill.
Following this consultation a number of changes were made to the original outline planning application and a revised application submitted in March 2014, which was granted consent in October 2014, and comprised:
- 635 new homes (reduced from 975)
- a two-form entry primary school with associated playing fields and land safeguarded for an extension to create a three-form entry primary school;
- a multi-functional extension to the community hall;
- a youth recreational facility;
- formalised car parking areas at the Community Centre and adjacent to Crispin Way;
- improvements to the highway network at Alexander Grove, Gibson Drive and Queen Street; and
- high quality and attractive on-site public open space including a new linear park, trim trails, woodland paths and green spaces;
- proposed community enhancements such as more grass sports pitches for Kings Hill Sports Park and further land for allotments. Road infrastructure will also be upgraded, with two new roads providing the long‑awaited connection from Tower View to Beacon Avenue
In summary, the main changes to the original application proposals are-
- Reduction in housing numbers and density – the revised proposals have reduced the total number of houses proposed by approximately 35% from 975 to 635;
- Reflecting changes in national planning guidance, public funding and public consultation, a reduction in the proportion of affordable housing – the revised proposals have reduced the proportion of affordable housing from 40% of 975 new dwellings (390 affordable dwellings) to 17.5% of 635 new dwellings (112 affordable dwellings);
- The removal of the petrol filling station – the petrol filling station proposed near Liberty Square has been removed from the application.
- The proposals for an energy-efficient, self-build, project on Forest Way have been removed from the application.