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Millwood Homes begins work at Ditton Laboratories, once part of East Malling Research Centre

By Chris Price

Demolition is under way at a former scientific study centre which will become a new housing development.

The Ditton Laboratories had stood redundant for 15 years, having once been part of East Malling Research.

Diggers moved in after Tonbridge-based Millwood Designer Homes and horticultural charity East Malling Trust gained planning permission to build 37 homes on the site in Kiln Barn Road.

The Ditton Laboratories are reduced to rubble
The Ditton Laboratories are reduced to rubble

The process began three years ago when the trust bought the buildings from Defra.

It has now sold it to Millwood’s development partners, with profits set to be invested in the charity’s horticultural scientific work at East Malling Research. It will be named Orchard Gate once completed.

The bulldozers move in
The bulldozers move in

Millwood’s deputy managing director Jeff Elliott said: “This is one of those rare moments where we can play a part in creating a new hamlet set within the heart of the Kent countryside, and at the same time help to ensure the future productivity of the orchards and fruit farms synonymous with Kent.”

East Malling Trust chief executive Adrian Padfield said: “The Ditton Laboratories dated back to 1929 and were no longer practical for 21st century science as undertaken by the current team at East Malling Trust.

THE PAST: The Ditton Laboratories
THE PAST: The Ditton Laboratories
The Orchard Gate development near East Malling
The Orchard Gate development near East Malling

“The sale, and redevelopment, will enable us to invest in further groundbreaking research which will help tackle the important issues of food security and adapting to climate change.”

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