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Old Springfield Library may yet avoid immediate demolition

A proposal to demolish the old KCC reference library at Springfield comes before the Maidstone Borough Council planning committee on Thursday night.

Peker Holdings Ltd wants to replace it with a development of 170 apartments in a staged development rising from six storeys to 16 storeys.

But for once, planning officers are urging councillors to refuse the application, saying they have significant concerns about the scale and density of the development on the very small site of just over half a hectare.

The old library tower - due for demolition (15435029)
The old library tower - due for demolition (15435029)

A report to the planning committee says: "Despite the attempts of both the applicant and officers to address the concerns arising, it is not considered that the process has been successful.

"The resulting building will represent an intrusive, incongruous and unacceptable form of development that will adversely impact upon both the immediate and wider townscape."

The Springfield Mill site looking south towards the new KCC Library and History Centre
The Springfield Mill site looking south towards the new KCC Library and History Centre

The potential refusal comes nine months after the developer's earlier plans were withdrawn from the November planning committee agenda, as the proposal was marked for refusal then due to the lack of affordable housing provided.

The plot, which faces Chatham Road, has outline permission dating from 2009 for 100 apartments.

The meeting starts at 6pm in Maidstone Town Hall.

The Springfield Park tower dominates the northern approach to Maidstone (15435227)
The Springfield Park tower dominates the northern approach to Maidstone (15435227)

Meanwhile, a short distance away on the former Springfield Mill site, builders Redrow feel they are making good progress on their development to deliver 295 one- and two-bedroom apartments and three- and four-bedroom houses on the site of the former Whatman paper-mill.

Despite the fact that little construction has begun - the company is still levelling the site - Redrow will begin selling the first batch of new homes off-plan with a sales launch this Saturday. With no sales home available on site, potential purchasers are being asked to call at the firm's site in

Temple Wharf, Strood, where details and prices for each property will be available.

The first batch for sale will be a selection of four-bedroom, three-floor town houses in the company's Edwardian-style Regent design.

The company expects one of the key selling points will be the 10-minute walk from Maidstone East station and its train services to London.

Sandwiched between Springfield Mill and the old library, is Springfield Park, with is 17-storey Creswick tower block, still surrounded in scaffolding, but already dominating the northern approach to the town. The Weston Homes development will generate a total of 502 flats and its sale office is already open at the base of the tower.

The Weston Homes marketing suite at the base of the Springfield Park tower
The Weston Homes marketing suite at the base of the Springfield Park tower

The Redrow sales preview runs from 10am to 5.30pm at Temple Wharf, Roman Way, Strood, ME2 2NF.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Malling

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