Ebbsfleet garden city: Exclusive first peek at masterplan to be officially revealed in September

A centre with 4,000 homes and a rapid transport link between Bluewater and Ebbsfleet International station will be among the features of the future garden city in Kent.

Drafts of the masterplan for Ebbsfleet, seen by Kent Business, reveal the project has been divided into four key development areas and will deliver 5,100 homes by April 2021.

The zones – Ebbsfleet Central, Northfleet Riverfront, Eastern Quarry and Swanscombe – will create a place “with strong environmental credentials and a strong city-centre feel to it”, according to Paul Spooner, the boss of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC).

Ebbsfleet garden city is under construction, with Swanscombe to the north
Ebbsfleet garden city is under construction, with Swanscombe to the north

The body, which awards planning permission over the site, is due to sign off the final version of the masterplan this month before revealing it to the public in September.

It will show Ebbsfleet Central as the heart of the new garden city and its economic hub, featuring 4,000 homes, including 1,000 starter homes, and 4.3m sq ft of commercial development.

The Eastern Quarry will create the most homes – about 4,750 – with a masterplan for this already agreed with developers and construction due to start in April.

Northfleet Riverside, about five minutes from Ebbsfleet Central, will be two new mixed use, high-density neighbourhoods on the Thames.

The Swanscombe area on the masterplan will be a major employment source for the city, with London Paramount entertainment resort working on a planning application for a £3.2bn theme park and hotels that it says will create 27,000 jobs.

The Ebbsfleet masterplan
The Ebbsfleet masterplan

It will also feature 200 to 400 homes under the EDC’s plans.

Mr Spooner said: “We see the garden city as the areas between Dartford and Gravesend and the River Thames and the A2.

“It’s about how the community understands the area, not what someone has drawn on a plan two years ago.”

“I want people to get off at Ebbsfleet International and be able to get to Bluewater in five minutes..." - Paul Spooner, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation

The EDC, set up to deliver up to 15,000 homes on the site, has approved plans for 1,400 homes and a new primary school since October.

It also wants to develop the Fastrack bus system, which already links Gravesend and Dartford to Bluewater, creating direct routes through the Eastern Quarry residential areas to the shopping centre and Ebbsfleet International.

On Thursday, it revealed details of a £12 million bridge set to link homes at Springhead Park with the international station.

Mr Spooner said: “I want people to get off at Ebbsfleet International and be able to get to Bluewater in five minutes. We are working to make that a reality.

“We want to encourage modal shift. We want more people moving by public transport.

“This is a major opportunity for dedicated new fast links between major points.”

New businesses in the garden city will be part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, gaining five years of discounted business rates, equivalent to a £350,000 grant.

From April next year, companies will have until March 2022 to apply for the full five-year entitlement.

The masterplan timetable, detailed above, also commits to building 10,964 homes by April 2026. Only 400 homes were built in the 20 years to 2015.

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