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Homes to be built on site of Gateway Community centre

By Emma Grove

Plans to demolish buildings including a community centre to prepare a site for redevelopment have been approved.

Consultancy firm Quadrant Town Planning Ltd put forward the proposal for the Klondyke and Twyford sites in Rushenden Road, Rushenden.

It’s as part of the wider Queenborough and Rushenden masterplan and means the loss of the Gateway Community Centre.

The Gateway in Rushenden Road, Rushenden, needs to find a new home
The Gateway in Rushenden Road, Rushenden, needs to find a new home

The application was looked at in two parts and notes that the northern part, the Klondyke, is made up of industrial buildings and usage, while the southern part, the Twyford, is the larger section of the plan and is mostly flat with a concrete surface.

Land will be raised to form a development platform so up to 250 houses can be built on the space.

This is needed to ensure future buildings are not at risk of flooding.

Members of Swale council’s planning committee unanimously gave the go-ahead to the plans at a meeting on Thursday evening.

Case officer Emma Eisinger, who recommended approval was granted, said in the report that the future homes to go on this site will also count towards the borough’s housing targets as set out in the emerging local plan.

She also described the loss of the Gateway as regrettable but justified as she believes the implementation of the masterplan will benefit the community significantly.

Some of the ground is contaminated and Queenborough and Halfway councillor Mick Constable said the first stage would involve raising the land levels to ensure contamination is below it rather than at ground level.

He said his only concern was there should be more than just wooden and wire mesh fencing surrounding the site when work begins to protect children walking to and from school walking along Rushenden Road. He was told by officers blue hoardings will be provided.

Hartlip, Newington and Upchurch councillor Gerry Lewin said the development is ‘going to unlock Queenborough and Rushenden as a project’.

Manager of the Gateway Carol Stewart said although the building will be going when its lease is up at the end of August, the charity will not and they are continuing to look for an alternative venue.

“We hope people will continue to support us and all the groups which run from here,” she said.

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