Plan for two tower blocks will change Tonbridge’s skyline forever

Plan for two tower blocks will change Tonbridge's skyline forever

TONBRIDGE is facing the prospect of two towers on its skyline as a planning application is being put together to build 267 apartments in the centre of town.

The blocks of flats, one of 13 floors and one with nine storeys, would be sited on the car park of River Centre next to the Medway.

The towers are being touted by designers Barton Willmore, who are acting as agents for a company called F Estates.

Planning permission was already granted in 2011 to build a nine-storey building and a 14-storey glass tower, which would have provided 73 flats.

It was also designed to offer 34 ‘units of boarding accommodation for students and conference delegates’, lecture and meeting rooms and a children’s nursery.

The application was put in by Harvester Trust, a Christian charity which has a church in the River Centre – a building that was also designed by Barton Willmore.

It is not known if the towers development is connected with the church. The latest scheme only incorporates residential accommodation, with 73 parking spaces.

Residents who live in the neighbourhood have received leaflet through their letterboxes asking for their views on the flats, which would cater for ‘young working professionals’ and offer ‘affordable private rent’.

It said the flats for ‘affordable private rent’ would meet a need in the borough to accommodate ‘young working professionals’.

Barton Willmore say: “The proposed development seeks to reflect the general arrangement of the consented scheme with an amended tower design.

“The development will consist high quality flats for affordable private rent, meeting an identified specific need for financially accessible accommodation in the borough to accommodate young working professionals.”

The company told the Times: “The purpose of the recent public consultation was to provide an opportunity for local residents to learn about the revised scheme proposals for the former River Centre car park site and to provide comments on the emerging proposals.

“The developer, F Estates, recently acquired the River Centre Car Park, which already has planning permission for a 14-storey tower which included 73 residential apartments, alongside other uses including boarding accommodation and a children’s nursery. The existing planning permission was implemented in May 2014 (with the start of building foundations), however, no further works have yet progressed.

“F Estates is a Private Rented Sector (PRS) developer who provide affordable rental accommodation in highly accessible town centre locations.

“They already have local knowledge with the delivery of affordable private rental units in Medway Wharf Road, successfully owning and maintaining Bank House through their operating arm of Proximity Homes. The emerging scheme seeks to reflect largely the original consent, but to accommodate a layout that delivers the PRS product.

The council commented: “There is an extant planning permission for a high rise residential development on the car park at the River Centre in Tonbridge, but we have not been approached recently about bringing this forward.”

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