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Plan to build 53 homes behind West Kent College campus in Tonbridge awaits a decision

By Luke May

Plans to build 53 homes next to a college campus are still in need of a decision.

Ashill Developments hopes to build a mixture of flats and houses behind the West Kent College campus in Brook Street, Tonbridge.

The plans were submitted in September, and in February, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council deferred a decision for a further investigation.

West Kent College (7788428)
West Kent College (7788428)

After an inspection last month, the plans were set to be decided upon tonight.

Council officers had recommended the development be approved, but the meeting has now been cancelled for further talks.

Officers are in talks with Ashill, with residents raising concerns over the height of the proposed homes.

An artist's impression of how the homes may look at West Kent College (8277301)
An artist's impression of how the homes may look at West Kent College (8277301)

If approved, 17 of the 53 homes would be affordable.

The land earmarked for development, which runs behind the college, is owned by Ashill Group.

Councillor David Cure requested the site inspection.

He said: "My main concern was the relationship between the site and the neighbouring properties on Hillside and The Spinney.

"The inspection also brought into focus the lack of parking on the site. We saw overspill parking from the college site, giving considerable concern, particularly as the development proposed by this application is displacing a large number of parking spaces to elsewhere within the campus.

"I am pleased therefore the application was withdrawn from Thursday’s agenda and look forward to the outcome of further consideration of the situation by the college, developer and Kent Highways."

Managing director of Ashill, Ben Boyce, said: "Aside from making a valuable contribution to local housing needs on brownfield land, the proposals would also create over £270,000 of financial contributions towards education, open space and highway improvements.

"Moreover, the development would unlock significant funds for West Kent College to invest in new equipment and machinery, alongside educational resources and facilities.

"Following the cancellation of the April planning committee, we will continue to work positively with officers and our neighbours and look forward to our plans being determined by councillors in due course."

TMBC said it was unable to comment on the meeting's cancellation.

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