Published: 08:54, 09 March 2021
| Updated: 08:59, 09 March 2021
The developer behind plans to redevelop the former Aylesford Newsprint site have vowed to spend £12million on improving local transport links in the area.
Privately-owned industrial developer Panattoni plans to transform the 90-acre brownfield site for industrial, logistics, distribution and manufacturing uses, generating some 3,000 jobs.
It intends to spend £180m on the project on the site of the business which closed in 2015. A decision on the planning application, submitted last summer, is expected by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council later this month.
Now it has unveiled plans to contribute to the refurbishment on two local railway stations, introduce a new bus service and improve footpaths and cycle routes.
It also plans to create a bike hire scheme at a nearby supermarket.
The proposals include a new £7 million public link road connecting Station Road and Bellingham Way. It is also funding a pedestrian crossing at Aylesford railway station and improvements to two existing public rights of way along the River Medway.
The new link road will reduce traffic using Junctions 4 and 5 of the M20 and travelling along Leybourne Way. A weight limit will ensure all HGVs entering and leaving the proposed site will travel along Bellingham Way to Junction 4 via Leybourne Way, avoiding Aylesford village and surrounding roads.
Plans for a bus service, operating between New Hythe, Aylesford and Maidstone will be funded by the firm for five years. They will include four new bus stops plus improved facilities at the Bricklayers Arms stop.
Panattoni also plans to invest more than £500,000 in local projects being deliver by the Kent Wildlife Trust, which includes a site in Boughton Monchelsea.
Anthony Watkins, development director at the firm, explains: "Following feedback from the local community our team looked at how we could improve the transport network in the area as well as how to connect it to Aylesford village.
“By improving local transport facilities and services, and improving safety, we hope to encourage more people to walk and cycle, while also having a better experience when using the nearby Aylesford and New Hythe railway stations.”
If approved, Panattoni hopes the site will be fully occupied by 2024, employing 3,000 people and supporting 2,500 jobs indirectly.