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Invicta Valley Primary School in Kings Hill evacuated after Second World War bomb found

A school and a nursery has been evacuated after a Second World War bomb was unearthed on a nearby building site.

Parents were contacted by staff at Invicta Valley Primary, in Kings Hill, and were told to come and collect their children after the discovery at the site, on Warwick Way.

Bright Horizons Kings Hill Day Nursery and Preschool and the Kings Hill Community Centre was also evacuated.

The community centre will also be closed tomorrow.

Police were called at around 8.30am and a cordon was put in place. Work is set to continue overnight and into tomorrow morning, when it is likely the bomb will be detonated.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Experts are at the scene.

Gibson Drive is closed between Kings Hill Avenue and Alexandra Grove.

Following the evacuation this morning, pupils and staff from both schools sheltered inside the foyer of nearby Asda, and in the supermarket's car park, while they waited for the children to be collected.

The bomb disposal team are at the scene. Credit it Jonathan Groves (17692559)
The bomb disposal team are at the scene. Credit it Jonathan Groves (17692559)

A spokeswoman for the Invicta Valley Primary School, which has almost 170 youngsters on its roll, said it was nothing to be alarmed about and was standard protocol.

Speaking shortly after midday, Nick Abrahams, area education officer for west Kent, said: “I have spoken to the head teacher and I am pleased to confirm that every single child who was at Valley Invicta Primary School at Kings Hill today has been picked up by a parent or carer.

"I can also confirm that every member of staff has left the site. The situation is now being dealt with by the relevant authorities.”

The land where the device was uncovered is the site of a new residential development, owned by Clarion Housing Group and being built by Latimer Developments. It was found by a contractor and emergency services were immediately called.

The company secured a trio of new sites in Kings Hill, earlier this year, with planning permission for 166 homes.

Video: A police cordon has been put in place

KentOnline also understands a community centre and several other buildings nearby have also been evacuated, including Colas, Infinity Gym and On Watch Multi-Fire.

Staff at On Watch Multi-Fire were told the evacuation could last 24 hours and have been instructed to call police in the morning to see if they can return to the work.

A wartime bomb was also found back in June, near Gibson Drive, Kings Hill.

A controlled explosion was used to detonate it safely.

The area was once home to a wartime airfield called RAF West Malling.

Video: Traffic is being redirected

The airfield became operational in the First World War and played a key role in the Battle of Britain in 1940, as well as intercepting doodlebugs heading for London.

As a result it was victim to several damaging bombing raids.

Guy Gibson, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the Dambusters raid, was among the famous flyers based there.

In 1993 it was torn down and replaced with housing and offices.

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council is on standby to provide help to the emergency services.

A spokeswoman said: "The bomb was found in the grounds of Kings Hill Valley School. We will offer any assistance if we are requested."

A police spokesman said: "Kent Police was called at 8.27am to a report of a suspected wartime munition found at a building site on Warwick Way, Kings Hill.

"Officers attended the scene and a cordon has been set up as a precaution.

"Gibson Drive has been closed between Kings Hill Avenue and Alexandra Grove."

A Clarion Housing spokesman said: “Our contractor made the discovery this morning while carrying out building work on our Kings Hill site. We are working closely with the Kent Police and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team to deal safely with the issue.”

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