Kings Hill Number 1 Place Making Exemplar
Kings Hill has been named as the country’s most successful new village in a report by one of the world’s leading property agents.
In its in-depth survey on placemaking CB Richard Ellis evaluated non-urban new villages of 1,000 homes or more, interviewing local residents, small business owners, those employed in or around the site, estate agents, estate managers and developers. They were asked to comment on a variety of issues, including design, provision of public and private amenity space, transport links, car parking and community provision.
Kings Hill achieved the highest overall score, beating Prince Charles’ Poundbury development in Dorset, which came third in the survey.
Kings Hill, which is set in 800 acres near West Malling, was a former airfield and is now home to around 6,000 residents and more than 100 businesses employing some 5,000 people.
There is an 18 hole golf course, cricket pitch, David Lloyd leisure centre, further recreation and sports amenities, schools and a village centre with shops, restaurants and cafes as well as a surgery, vets and opticians.
It is being developed by Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd who the report praised for reacting to the requirements of local and potential residents by matching the product accurately to their needs, thus creating a clear sense of community pride. It added that the Kings Hill Parish Council played an active role in maintaining the sense of involvement from the community.
On the provision of public and private amenities, the report says: ‘Kings Hill has been more successful in providing public amenity space, with playgrounds, a golf course, cricket pitch, access to a vast woodland area etc. In addition, it also provided appropriate private amenity space.
‘There are homes with small gardens that require little maintenance as these are particularly popular with the older and younger buyers. However, there are also family homes with substantial gardens to match. These are so rarely provided and they are sometimes exactly what growing families are looking for, particularly if it is part of the motivation behind moving out of the city.’
Over 15% of those living at Kings Hill work for a business on site and Trevor Nicholson, CB Richard Ellis’ Head of Placemaking, said that people’s live-work balance has never been so important, which is why most large schemes have a significant proportion of non-residential space. He added that the “exciting thing about this trend is that outside major conurbations we seem to be heading back to where we started a few hundred years ago – local.”
“This is terrific endorsement for Kings Hill,” said Andrew Blevins, Managing Director of Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd. “It is a vibrant and bustling community with a good range of amenities – in fact, many more than the majority of ‘traditional’ villages.
“We are continuing to add to the development, with more leisure and recreational amenities, more business space and additional houses planned.”