Published: 06:00, 27 March 2014
Plans for 1,200 new homes in Folkestone moved a step closer after developers exchanged contracts with the Ministry of Defence for the land.
Developer Taylor Wimpey is applying to build the homes on the former Shorncliffe Garrison land.
Completion of the sale means pockets of the 77 hectacre site will be released across four phases from next year.
Part of the garrison will remain but will be considerably reduced in size.
The MoD said money raised from the sale will be reinvested to new accomodation on other defence sites including at Shorncliffe but also Lydd Camp.
More than 100 ensuite rooms, new offices plus storage and training accommodation are among the improvements.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) which is part of the MoD negotiated the sale with Taylor Wimpey.
DIO principal estate surveyor Charlotte Cordy-Redden said: "This is another step forward in our plans to rationalise Shorncliffe Garrison to the right size and right condition.
"Not only are we providing better facilities for our Armed Forces but by releasing land which is no longer needed by Defence we are able to help provide families in Kent with much-needed new homes."
Taylor Wimpey are due to submit a planning application to Shepway District Council within the next few weeks.
Joanna Webb, senior land and planning manager for Taylor Wimpey South East, said: "We are delighted to have exchanged contracts with DIO for the Shorncliffe Garrison development site.
"We have conducted extensive public consultation with the local community in the preparation of our proposals over the past few months and we are currently finalising a planning application for submission to Shepway District Council in April."
But at a recent presentation to Folkestone town council, concerns were raised by councillors over plans for one of the development's main access routes.
Taylor Wimpey proposes to put traffic lights and a box junction on the Horn Street bridge.
But councillors were united in saying they felt widening the bridge was the best option.
Before building can start, work to the bridge needs to be completed. Based on the recommendation by a highways inspector, it was deemed that widening was not necessary.
The mayor, Cllr Roger West, said: "Traffic lights are not going to work. It’s going to affect people in Cheriton and Hythe, and I think it’s going to be one of the main sticking points."
Cllr Lynne Beaumont said: “I know that bridge inside out, and I don’t think a yellow box is going to sort that out. It’s busy there now. If you’re going to add traffic lights, it’s going to be utter chaos.”
Joanna Webb, senior land and planning manager for Taylor Wimpey, said: "We had some useful discussions with councillors about the evolving scheme.
"We recognise that there are concerns, but we are confident that the wide range of highways solutions we are proposing will address the issues which have been raised."
She added: "Detailed traffic assessments concluded that the widening of Horn Street rail bridge would not be necessary to accommodate the planned development, and additional traffic surveys carried out more recently have further confirmed this position."
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