By 2035 Kent will be a very different place to live, work and socialise. Ebbsfleet Garden City is the largest new development currently under a working progress, aiming to deliver 15,000 homes over the next 13 years.
It has already started transforming an area of north Kent, and will slowly continue to do so over the next decade. Meanwhile, on the east Kent coast, Otterpool Park, a 10,000 home garden town scheme is vying for outline planning permission. If granted, it will become a large rural town between Hythe and Sellindge.
These two developments alone will produce a whopping 25,000 homes by 2050 – and that’s not taking into account other smaller scale housing estates and villages in the making. Garden cities, towns or villages are somewhat favoured by the government as they see it as a way of tackling the national housing crisis.
They are also designed to give residents access to open spaces as part of the government’s plan to regenerate underused land. Just last week Housing Minister Stuart Andrew pledged more than £69 million towards its Garden Communities Programme.
While most of the national drive is in the north, midlands and south west, Otterpool Park and Borough Gardens, a 3,000 home village earmarked for land near Tonbridge, received some funding from the pot. It is hoped this money will provide support in nearly 200,000 jobs in schools, shops and offices nationwide, and will boost the economy.
And whether the people of Kent are pro-redevelopment or against it, there’s no denying that new-build houses are being snapped up. That’s according to sales director of Bellway Thames Gateway Emma Hamlett.
She said: “There is no doubt that the incredible appetite for new homes which continues on this site shows the area’s growing popularity with buyers, both on the apartments and houses being built at this development. The location, which has high-speed connections to central London, is proving particularly attractive to commuters working in the capital.
“Construction is progressing well and we are on schedule to deliver yet more new homes at this much sought-after site ready for the first residents to move here in June.”
Ebbsfleet Garden City in a nutshell
Ebbsfleet Garden City sits on the Thames, bordering London with close proximity to Bluewater Shopping Centre and junctions with the M25 motorway and the A2. The development is far from empty and derelict, with small mini villages encompassed within the city already attracting new families and couples.
Set in a huge chalk quarry, Ebbsfleet is set to have 32,000 new jobs for residents by 2035. Satellite images from Google Maps illustrates just how vast the area is.
Four district areas will be developed between the existing communities of Northfleet, Swanscombe and Greenhithe. These are Ebbsfleet Central, Northfleet Riverside, Eastern Quarry and Ebbsfleet Garden and Swanscombe Peninsula.
It is estimate that around 30% of the homes will fall into the affordable housing category. As part of the plans, the mini villages will have their own retail, commercial and community spaces as well as schools and improved transport facilities.
Ebbsfleet Garden City is still in its infancy, with clusters of homes and communities forming, but not everything is linked yet. Take a look below to see the latest improvements.
The ongoing progress
When KentLive walked around much of the development last year, it was apparent it was a working progress. Our reporter at the time described it by saying: “With two small Co-Op outlets, a handful of green open spaces, and a Marston’s Hotel & Pub making up the lion’s share of what’s been built aside from housing. It currently feels a little-bare bones, though the neighbourhoods that are there are diverse, well maintained, and picturesque.”
Ebbsfleet Central East
A proposed outlook for the central heart of Ebbsfleet Garden City was released in November last year. Dubbed the Garden City, it will aim to deliver homes, shops, restaurants, health facilities and workspace on land centring Ebbsfleet International Station, a key High Speed link connecting it to the capital.
As part of the big reveal, images were released of what the area could look like. An outline planning application is due to be submitted this year. Among the plans, bosses say a new sub regional business hub will be included, which will allow for flexible working practices.
Arts, music and film venues will also be included. The proposals are said to be the first step in delivering Ebbsfleet Central and focus on three key areas which make up Ebbsfleet Central East.
Biggest educational facility
There is no doubt that with an increasing portfolio of houses, more school places will be needed as time goes on. The garden city’s first primary school opened in 2017, with two more opening in September 2020.
Alkerden C of E Academy, is earmarked for Whitecliffe and will combine a nursery, two-form-entry primary and an eight-form-entry secondary school and will include a sports facility. The combined schools and sports centre will occupy an 11.1 hectare site, making it one of the largest educational facilities ever to be built in Kent.
The academy, run by Aletheia Anglican Academies Trust, is due to open in September 2024 with remaining secondary and primary provision to open at a future date to be confirmed. This accompanies the existing schools in the area – Ebbsfleet Green Primary School, which is set to open a new building this September and the already opened Cherry Orchard Primary Academy.
New images have only recently been released of Castle Grange which will provide a small fraction of the housing allocation at Ebbsfleet Garden City. It will become part of the Alkerden Village district with a total of 138 homes planned.
Out of the 138, 26 homes are considered “affordable”, while 102 homes will be put up for private sale at Castle Grange. The first selection of new homes at Castle Grange will be released for sale in the autumn. Further details about how people can get a home in the development are expected to be released later this year.
‘Phenomenal demand for homes’
Ebbsfleet Cross is a collection of 233 new homes being delivered on the former Croxton and Garry Quarry site, off Tiltman Avenue in Swanscombe. The neighbouring site containing 100 homes at Ebbsfleet Cross were all sold within 19 months, showing the level of demand.
Bellway’s sales director Emma Hamlett added: “We are experiencing phenomenal demand for new homes at Ebbsfleet Cross at Garden City which follows on from the success of the first phase of development off Craylands Lane, where all 100 homes were sold in less than two years.
“The launch of the next phase of new apartments in May at Ebbsfleet Cross at Garden City is a direct response to this heightened level of interest.”
To read more about the development and the latest plans press here.
Article Source: Kent Live