Published: 00:01, 23 June 2016
A huge riverside development, including a 13-storey high block, has been approved.
The site was once home to Gravesend West Street station and a pier used to ferry pleasure-trippers down the river.
The unoccupied area is known as Clifton Slipways and incorporates land either side of West Street at the junction with Stuart Road.
The iron pier has not been in use for decades, and has fallen into disrepair, but it is the last surviving reminder of the site’s history as the terminus for boat trains connecting with passenger ferries crossing the Thames and the Channel.
There will be a mix of 39 one-bedroom flats, 84 two-bedroom homes and 10 with three bedrooms, in two new buildings, after the agreement of the Gravesham regulatory board.
The smaller of the two buildings will range from four to nine floors to fit with the terrain.
“It’s a very nice development, given the location and, the way the land falls away, it’s in keeping with the Heritage Quarter..." - Cllr William Lambert
The existing two-level Victorian pier structure will be restored as part of the build, to provide public and private space, including new a glazed pavilion and public walkway.
There will be secure cycle parking for at least one bike per home, but only 88 secure car parking spaces, including 12 disabled bays,
A business unit is included on the ground floor of the northern building, and is expected to be a cafe or restaurant.
Cllr William Lambert, vice-chairman of the board, said after the unanimous decision to approve the scheme: “This has been going on for a few years now and we thought we really need to get on with it.
“It’s a very nice development, given the location and, the way the land falls away, it’s in keeping with the Heritage Quarter.
“Having the pier back into use is a real bonus. We are also in great need of homes.”
Landowner Downriver Properties and architecture practice Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates held an exhibition for people in the town to view the plans in December last year.
While most feedback was positive, some attendees expressed concern about the design of the site’s main 13-storey building.
One local compared its design to “shipping containers stacked on top of each other”, with others worried that its imposing height was ill-suited to a town like Gravesend.
The scheme provides no affordable housing, despite the council’s position that 30% of the homes on all new build sites must be affordable.
Downriver Properties provided a document explaining that affordable homes would prevent the scheme being viable.
There are conditions, however.
Kent County Council has demanded £55,482 towards the expansion of St John’s Primary School, £3,004 towards the adult education centre, £3,713 towards street-based youth work, £6,386 towards library book stock and £6,191 towards social care.
A contribution of £29,736 towards bird protection on the North Kent Marshes has also been included, as well as a yet-to-be decided financial contribution towards highway improvements, and further deferred contributions for off-site affordable housing provision.
Construction is expected to begin within 18 months, with a further 18 months before building is complete.
“It’s a very nice development, given the location and, the way the land falls away, it’s in keeping with the Heritage Quarte