Below are the most frequently asked questions from the community and the answers from the project team in response.
What types of businesses do you envisage will be moving to the site?
The final operators of the units on the site are subject to final agreement, however we can say that we have already had interest from several businesses. About half of them are nationally known companies that require either light manufacturing, distribution or logistics space. The other half is from local Kent businesses wishing to upgrade or expand their current operation and think that these proposals would suit their needs.
What will be operating hours of the units?
The site will allow for 24-hour working. However, the majority of work on the site will be in the day-time and normal working hours. Night-time working will mostly be operators preparing goods for distribution on the site; either processing deliveries made the previous day or preparing deliveries for the following day.
Why not develop the land between the railway line and the Medway?
Panattoni do not own the land between the railway line and the Medway, this land resides in the ownership of the Aylesford Newsprint Administration.
The land under Panattoni’s control forms the vast majority of the land holding (90 acres) and is also the most suitable for employment uses.
How many jobs will be provided from the development?
When completed the site will deliver more than 3000 jobs, either directly on the site or indirectly in companies supporting the development.
How much will be raised in local business rates once the development is completed?
The site could deliver approximately £7m per annum in local business rates which can help fund public priorities for the Borough and County Council.
What are the use classifications B1(c) B2 & B8?
B1(c) use is light industry. B2 is general industrial use and B8 is storage and distribution.
TRAFFIC & ROADS
What road transport assessments will be completed to determine the impact on local roads?
Panattoni will be utilising the Kent County Council’s ‘Visim-model’ to assess the traffic impact from the development. This is a standardised method that anticipates traffic movements for the local and wider area. This model will help to identify any areas that require improvements as a result of the development.
Will pedestrian crossings be installed if the roads are widened?
The application will include a road safety assessment. Any road improvements proposed will conform to highways standards with regard to health and safety.
Will Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) be allowed to use the Bellingham Way link to Station Road?
No. HGVs will be restricted from accessing Station Road from Bellingham Way.
How will you prevent HGVs from using the Bellingham Way link to Station Road?
A weight restriction will be placed at the access to Station Road in accordance with KCC highways standards. There will also be an HGV turning head provided at the point of restriction allowing HGV’s to turn around and return West bound along Bellingham Way.
Why not build a new junction access to the M20 between junctions 4 and 5?
The development of a new access onto the M20 is outside the control of Panattoni and is opposed by Highways England who consider the area too close to junctions 4 and 5.
Why not use the railway line for freight?
Due to the scale of rail freight delivery, sites in the UK that use trains for freight are typically about four times larger than the Aylesford site owned by Panattoni. Only very specialised logistics operators use trains and due to the site’s size, this is unlikely to be an attractive site for them to operate. However, if an operator approached Panattoni and did want to use the railway, Panattoni would be willing to explore this option further.
Have you considered bridging the Medway to alleviate traffic this way?
A proposal to bridge the Medway near the site would have a significant impact on local Greenbelt land and would not relocate traffic to any existing suitable highways infrastructure.
What environmental assessments will be taken to estimate the impact on air quality from the industrial developments and their associated traffic?
The planning application will include an Air Quality Impact Assessment. The regulations on air quality state that mitigation impacts are required when air quality falls below acceptable levels.
Our Air quality assessment considers all vehicle movements generated by the site and the operations of the occupiers. This assessment and its recommendations will be submitted as part of the planning application.
What will be the noise impact on local residences?
Noise Impact Assessment is be undertaken as part of the planning application, this will assess how the new development will compare to existing noise levels.
However, if there are any areas that require mitigation, these proposals will be included in the planning application.
How long will the project take to complete.
Assuming a planning consent is given by the end of 2020, construction will begin in early 2021 with the completion of Bellingham Way link road and the first units will be occupied in Spring 2022. The remainder of the development will be completed by 2024.
What improvements will you be making to the footpath along the eastern boundary of the site?
The footpath itself is not on Panattoni land, however, the intention is to improve the environment of the footpath through the clearing of the scrub vegetation and new planting within the Panattoni boundary.
In the site itself there will be new pavements and a cycleway from north to south. They will be maintained at the occupier’s cost by a dedicated estate management company and be available for public use. With the additional tree planting and other landscaping improvements this will offer an attractive alternative route for pedestrians to walk.
What public consultation have you done with the local community and what further public consultation will you be doing?
The public consultation website has been promoted by a leaflet drop to over 20,000 residents and business, and by press release to local and regional media. The project team have also met with the local MP, over a dozen local Tonbridge and Malling Borough Councillors, two local residents’ groups, and has either met with or are scheduled to meet with the three local Parish Councils as well as Snodland Town Council.
The project team will keep all of these groups updated as the application progresses.