Green light for new business district in Tunbridge Wells

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U+I has been granted planning permission from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to transform 30-acres of open green belt land in Kent into a new green business community

The new business district, which has been designed by Scott Brownrigg, sits on underused green belt land within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and will centre on a reinvigorated historic pond, itself surrounded by the ancient woodland of King’s Standing – providing biodiversity net gain and a tranquil environment for employees

The business district will generate thousands of jobs and address a severe shortfall of warehouse and office provision in the area, full planning consent has now been granted.

Kingstanding had received resolution to grant planning consent in September 2020 but was subject to referral to the Secretary of State.

All matters relating to highways works have now been resolved and the S106 signed.

Located 3.5 miles from Tunbridge Wells town centre, Kingstanding will comprise flexible, high-quality employment and industrial space to cater for a variety of different businesses.

The buildings will be set within a beautiful parkland to create an inspiring place for people to work post-Covid, with sustainability and wellbeing at the forefront of the design.

Tunbridge Wells has been losing warehouse and office floor space at a rate that exceeds regional averages.

Vacancy levels of both are very low, with the shortfall compounded by limited new development activity.

In line with the council’s economic needs study – which noted the requirement for at least 14ha of additional employment land up to 2033 – Kingstanding will alleviate the shortage in warehouse and office space and stimulate economic growth.

This approach is being confirmed in an emerging new Local Plan.

Unused greenbelt land can create a thriving destination

The scheme will also attract approximately £225m of new inward investment and provide up to 4,000 jobs on site; up to 1,000 local jobs indirectly through increased local support functions to the site, and 520 construction and supply jobs over an eight-year period.

It is easily accessible by car, bus and train, while cycling from Tunbridge Wells town centre will take around 16 minutes.

The new offices will be situated around the perimeter of the site, with new warehousing units concentrated in the north-west corner. Buildings will be positioned adjacent to woodland and other key landscape features to allow the occupiers immediate access to nature and other outdoor amenities.

Richard Upton, chief executive officer, U+I, said: “This decision represents a significant step forward in unlocking the potential of this unused greenbelt land to create a thriving new business destination.

“Much needed industrial and office space will serve local and national businesses, all the while generating thousands of jobs and stimulating economic growth, delivering real value to the local people of Tunbridge Wells.”

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