Site Features and Surrounding Area

The site is known as ‘Land to the South of Clearheart Lane, Kings Hill’ and "Site F2" and is located on the southern edge of Kings Hill. The site covers approximately 7.5 hectares of land and is owned by Tregothnan Estate. The site is part occupied by ancient woodland as well as secondary woodland and scrub.

 

There are also areas of hardstanding which formed aircraft dispersal bays associated with the former military use of the site. The site is located in an accessible location, with a wide range of key local facilities within easy walking distance of the site. It is bordered to the north and west by residential dwellings, to the south by Cattering Wood and to the east by open green space.

 

The wider area comprises of residential, commercial development including retail, leisure and community facilities associated with King’s Hill, along with agricultural land and areas of woodland, originally developed on the former West Malling airfield which closed in 1967. The site will provide an extension to the Kings Hill settlement, as envisaged in the Local Plan.

Planning

The site is allocated for housing development in the Tonbridge & Malling Development Land Allocations DPD. This allocation is proposed to remain within the emerging Local Plan. As such, the principle of residential development on this site is confirmed as acceptable as identified below.
 

Policy H1(f) states:
 

(f) Kings Hill – remainder (65 dwellings), subject to:
 

The requirements set out within the policy will be addressed within the planning application submission. 

Provision of affordable housing in accordance with Core Policy CP17(1);

Provision of on-site open playing space or a contribution to the provision or enhancement of open space provision elsewhere at Kings Hill;

Provision of footpaths, cycle and bridle routes linking with existing and/or proposed routes at Kings Hill;

A contribution towards community and leisure facilities at Kings Hill;

Any necessary mitigation measures identified as a result of an archaeological assessment

The retention of important trees on the site and a substantial woodland margin adjacent to the countryside to preserve the landscape setting and screen the development area;

The requirements set out within the policy will be addressed within the planning application submission. 

Design

The indicative layout demonstrates how the site could be delivered to achieve the allocated 65 dwellings with a range of small to family sized homes.

 

The scheme has a leafy and green character owing to the existing high quality trees and woodland groups on the site which will be retained and integrated into the layout.  

 

Existing tree groups will be incorporated into new amenity green spaces. Tree and shrub planting is proposed along the track adjacent to the western boundary, lining the proposed spine street, and along the eastern site edge with additional landscaping. New dwellings will front onto the track adjacent to the western site boundary, new open spaces and routes, providing natural surveillance.

Transport and Highways

Vehicle access to the site will be provided via an extension to Clearheart Lane, taking the form of a single carriageway minor access road. It is proposed that location of the access will be fixed as part of the planning application.

 

The access has been carefully designed to mirror a number of the existing features of Clearheart Lane and surrounding residential roads. An additional ‘leisure access’ will be provided to the south of the site, following the route of the existing track before connecting with Ketridge Lane and Teston Road.

 

This secondary access will predominantly be used as a leisure route for pedestrians and cyclists, however it will be open to emergency vehicles in the unlikely event that the main Clearheart Lane access is blocked or closed. The indicative internal road layout has been designed with wide carriageway widths of between 4.8m and 6.0m, which is in line with national and local guidance, and mirrors the design of neighbouring roads.

 

Appropriate traffic calming measures will be incorporated into the design of the access road with a particular focus on the interaction between the perimeter track and Clearheart Lane. Initial trip generation assessments estimate in the region of 30 two-way vehicle trips during the AM and PM peak periods which would equate to approximately one additional vehicle every two minutes. Whilst this level is likely to be imperceptible to the existing network, appropriate tests will be undertaken as part of the planning application to ensure the impacts are not detrimental to the local network.

 

Vehicle parking will be provided in line with Kent County Council guidance, providing sufficient spaces for new residents and to ensure no overspill into existing residential areas. The detailed design of the vehicle parking will be agreed during the reserved matters stage.

 

For pedestrians and cyclists, footways will be provided on either side of the access road and throughout the site. Additional ‘leisure links’ will also be provided, opening up the development to allow residents to benefit from the perimeter track along the site’s western border.

 

The site is well positioned to benefit from a number of existing high quality pedestrian and cycle links within Kings Hill, however through the addition of traffic calming measures and additional leisure links, the proposed development will further enhance these pedestrian and cycle routes for future site users as well as existing residents of Kings Hill.

Trees

Part of the site comprises Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland. The indictive layout and parameter plans (which will be submitted with the planning application) avoid this area and also include a 15-metre buffer as advised by the Forestry Commission and Natural England. It is anticipated that the designated ancient woodland will not be adversely affected as part of the proposed residential development. In addition, the indicative layout demonstrates that the site can be developed whilst retaining the important trees on the site.

Ecology

It is proposed that the scheme will include a number of biodiversity improvements including:
 

  1. Installation of bat and bird boxes;
     

  2. Provision of animal friendly post and rail fences;
     

  3. Provision of wildlife friendly planting schemes;
     

  4. Inclusion of native plantings species; and
     

  5. Provision of a 15-metre buffer to protect the ancient woodland from the proposed buildings.

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Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Limited (‘Lichfields’) is registered with the Information Commissioners Office (registration number Z6193122). Your responses will be analysed by Lichfields on behalf of our client Tregothnan Estate. It is not envisaged that any personal data will be supplied by virtue of completion of the survey, but in the event that any personal data is supplied, it will be disregarded and deleted without undue delay. Responses to this consultation may be made publicly available.