A draft masterplan setting out the possible future of Fort Halstead has been revealed at a public exhibition.
The event, attended by more than 300 people, laid out the plans for the ministry of defence site including 450 homes – of which 20% will be affordable housing following discussions with Sevenoaks District Council.
Produced by site owner Armstrong (Kent) LLP, the plan also features a business park creating 1,2000 jobs, a community hall suitable for a nursery, three play areas and a pavilion.
An aerial view of the master plan
The Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) currently occupies the area and employs 1,000 people. It aims to complete a relocation to alternative sites by 2018.
In 2012, Armstrong (Kent) LLP appointed a professional team to advise on Fort Halstead's future to ensure a 'high quality environment can be created following Dstl's departure.'
Documents made available to the public state Fort Halsted would also provide these additional economic benefits:
· £1.2 million additional expenditure a year in the local economy
· 20 public sector jobs protected
· 95 construction jobs per annum during construction
· 540 people in employment
A sketch showing what homes and the open space would look like
Following two community workshops and a previous public consultation, designs have been amended in line with Sevenoaks District Council's draft Allocations and Development Management Plan (ADMP).
The ADMP aims to establish what type of development should take place in the district and where.
Amendents were made after it was recognised that the most sustainable means of ensuring continued employment at Fort Halstead will be as part of an employment-led mixed-used development.
An artist's impression of what offices and business units would look like
This includes employment space at least sufficient to replace the jobs lost, community facilities, and infrastructure to support the sustainable development of the site.
At previous public events, site owners were told that 'this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop something unique' and that the development should host a 'balanced community village with a range of housing'.
Stephen Roberts, spokesman for Armstrong (Kent) LLP, said: “With over 300 hundred attendees, we were delighted to see so many people come along to our events.
“We are now in the process of reviewing all the comments and considering how we can feed them into the masterplan before submitting the application.”