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Go-ahead likely for 300 homes on old Maidstone paper mill site

By Luke May

Plans to build nearly 300 homes on the site of a 200-year-old former paper mill are expected to be approved.

Six buildings across the former Whatman’s paper factory site would be demolished to create a 295-home development, known as Springfield Mill.

If approved at a council meeting on Thursday, 59 of the new homes would be classed as affordable.

The paper mill's chimney is expected to stay if plans are approved.
The paper mill's chimney is expected to stay if plans are approved.

Maidstone Borough Council’s planning committee is expected to give the go-ahead to the proposals which would see 218 one- and two-bedroom apartments built in four- and five-storey blocks, with access to a basement car park via James Whatman Way.

A further 77 houses would offer between two and four bedrooms.

Dating from the turn of the 19th century, much of the paper mill’s original structure has been renovated.

The Grade II listed Rag Room, the only surviving room since the mill was built in 1805, is expected to be kept intact for community use, while the site’s listed chimney and a beam from its original steam engine will remain as local landmarks.

Homes typical of a Redrow development.
Homes typical of a Redrow development.

Historic England has compelled the council to consider ways the development “can capitalise on existing character and appearance”.

People raised fears over the height and scale of the development, paired with worries over how surrounding roads will take the additional influx.

Maidstone council has asked for more than £800,000 of investments to support the local area, including £521,563 into a new Maidstone primary school.

A Redrow Homes spokesman said: “The designs are mostly bespoke and complement the architectural heritage of the site and are in keeping with the historic environment. We also want to retain and enhance the existing natural features allowing us to achieve this.

“The design process involved extensive consultation with local councillors, council officers and residents. We have included many of the suggestions made, resulting in proposals which we feel are exceptional and will provide a housing scheme which Maidstone and Redrow can be proud.”

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