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House plans for Upper Bell, Chatham Road, opposed by Blue Bell Hill village

By Nicola Jordan

Plans to replace a former pub with housing have drawn mixed reaction from villagers.

Developers want to build a block of flats and four semi-detached houses on land once occupied by the Upper Bell, which sits in an area of outstanding natural beauty overlooking the North Downs at Blue Bell Hill.

The majority of people have lodged objections on the grounds that the 10 flats and four-bedroom homes were not in-keeping with other property in the village. They also cited fears about parking and traffic problems.

The former Upper Bell Inn in Blue Bell Hill village
The former Upper Bell Inn in Blue Bell Hill village

But others said the site in Chatham Road had in the past, attracted squatters and was an eyesore.

At one time traffic travelling between Medway and Maidstone went past the pub, but the diversion on the motorway led to a decline in business at the Upper Bell and it closed in 2003 before being demolished.

Artist's impression of what the housing development at Blue Bell Hill would look like
Artist's impression of what the housing development at Blue Bell Hill would look like
Site of the old Upper Bell pub in Blue Bell Hill
Site of the old Upper Bell pub in Blue Bell Hill

Plans to build a storage yard on the pub’s car park were unanimously rejected by councillors in 2013.

The application is with Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council.

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