The Tudeley Village site, of just over 170 hectares, sits between the hamlets of Tudeley and Tudeley Hale and the village of Five Oak Green. The centre of the site is roughly equidistant between Tonbridge, to the west, and Paddock Wood, to the east. The London-Ashford railway line runs through the site east to west. The land is currently used for arable cultivation and fruit growing, and Bank Farm Livery and paddocks are at the centre. It sits in a transition zone between the High and Low Weald – a transition reinforced by the railway.
Flooding is a concern locally, and the Hadlow Estate and its design team have taken time to understand the current challenges to develop a strategy for flood management that not only addresses all flooding and surface water issues that may arise from the development, but also looking at ways to contribute to flood mitigation measures for the surrounding area.
The Estate has considered in detail the existing habitats, features and flora, as well as both protected and unprotected species associated with the site. No land within the site is designated by any statutory or non-statutory wildlife site designation, and the site is not located close to any Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or other statutory designated wildlife site. The site supports areas of ancient and semi-ancient woodland, which will be protected.
Key ecological features on the site, such as ancient woodland, will be retained and steps will be taken to achieve a biodiversity net gain of over 10 per cent. The masterplan aims to protect existing valuable habitats within the site, and to improve on the biodiversity and wildlife value of monocultural arable and close-cropped paddocks present on the majority of the site.
The Hadlow Estate has a long record of supporting ecology and biodiversity enhancement initiatives, such as heathland creation near Pembury Woods, where there is a long-standing partnership with the RSPB. The Estate’s farming and land management includes countryside stewardship measures to encourage a variety of farmland birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects.
Although the site is outside the protected AONB, it still sits wholly within the Green Belt. As of 2019, some 22 per cent of land within Tunbridge Wells Borough was designated as Green Belt. In the current climate it is not unusual for land to be allocated for development within the Green Belt by a Local Plan.
The Estate has considered what compensatory improvements it could make to the retained Green Belt elsewhere on land under its ownership. This will be developed in consultation with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
There are several existing buildings on the site. Some are owned by the Hadlow Estate. These include a collection of buildings in the centre of the site at Bank Farm. Other existing buildings are in private ownership, and the masterplan has been designed to ensure a good interrelation is maintained between these buildings and the new development, including set-backs and green space. Some of these buildings are heritage assets that have been assessed as part of a wider study, and the masterplan has been developed to protect, respect and where appropriate celebrate these assets.
All Saints’ Church
It is very important to respect and retain the setting and rural character around All Saints’ Church and, as a result, the Tudeley Village proposals have been set well back behind a generous area of open space. The existing ancient woodland and historic orchard to the north are enhanced, to continue to screen the church. The adjacent open land to the east is retained as a village green similar to many local villages.
Sustainability is a core principle for the development of a village at Tudeley. This means creating a pedestrian-friendly, walkable community with opportunities for residents to move around the village and to the surrounding area without relying on a private vehicle. The main streets are structured around a series of walkable neighbourhoods and a bus route. Pedestrian and cycle routes will be prioritised, and many of these routes will be integrated into the green network, which is threaded through the village masterplan. Electric-vehicle (EV) charging points, and a cycle route from the village to Tonbridge separate from the road will support sustainable transport. We are also considering how car-sharing or car-pooling schemes could be supported.
The masterplan for Tudeley Village shows a settlement of 2,800 dwellings, which will be delivered in phases over a 30-year period. Tudeley Village will incorporate diverse housing types and tenures to attract everyone from first-time buyers to retirees. Dwellings will range in size from 1-bedroom to 5-bedroom homes. Tenure-blind affordable housing will be integrated throughout the proposed village at Tudeley.
We want to provide comfortable cottages and single-storey houses for older residents to downsize to, and specialist elderly provision for when living independently is no longer possible. There will be starter homes for younger people who have been born and brought up in the borough, and good quality homes for growing families and key workers such as teachers and healthcare workers.
There are four key areas of mixed-use development within the masterplan for Tudeley Village; places offering shops, cafés, workplaces offices and nursery provision – all within walking distance. The first is the main village centre, located around Bank Farm. Then, there are three smaller mixed-use areas to the south east, south west and north west of the centre. The objective is to ensure that the residents’ day-to-day needs can be met within the village so they have less need to travel outside Tudeley at peak times.
In addition to the 19MW of electricity generated at the solar park immediately adjacent to Tudeley Village, the Estate will incorporate renewable energy technology throughout the development through market-leading technologies. The Estate will introduce localised energy generation in the form of technologies such as solar photovoltaics, solar thermal systems and/or air/ground source heat pumps. EV charging points throughout the village will enable the use of electric vehicles by residents, businesses and visitors.
Utility providers have confirmed that the site can be serviced from existing and new infrastructure with Hadlow Estate meeting proportionate contributions for such improvements. A new electricity sub-station would be developed from the outset at Tudeley Village with supply delivered from the east via adopted roads. The use of carbon-based domestic fuels such as natural gas is not envisaged. South East Water has advised that capacity is available via a local point of connection within the Tudeley site, and we are exploring the potential of water harvesting to reduce use of mains water. At an early stage the foul drainage network would be upgraded with a new main. Superfast broadband will be delivered from the outset.