What was the inspiration for the development?
We are inspired by the history of English villages and, in particular, the rich legacy of settlement building in Kent. We also draw inspiration from some of the carefully planned new developments that are being built in the UK and the USA.
Exemplars in the UK include three developments brought forward by the Duchy of Cornwall: Poundbury in Dorset, and Tregunnel Hill and Truro in Cornwall.
Elsewhere, landowners in Scotland at Tornagrain near Inverness and Chapelton near Aberdeen are showing how new communities can be built for future generations.
We believe that the approach set out by The Prince’s Foundation to build mixed-use, walkable communities is the way to create sustainable, attractive places where people will want to live and work, and be proud to call home.
Their recently launched publication – Housing Britain – A Call to Action – gives an insight into how this can be achieved.
The site for the proposed new village is adjacent to the hamlet of Tudeley. It is between the towns of Tonbridge and Paddock Wood, and it is bounded by the B2017 Tonbridge to Five Oak Green road to the south and Sherenden Lane to the north. The village of Five Oak Green is to the west, accessed by the B2017. The London to Ashford & Dover railway runs through the centre of the proposed village site.
Currently the land is used by a livery business, centred on Bank Farm. The wider area is farmed for arable crops, and land to the north of the railway includes commercial orchards and soft fruit crops.
The land area is approximately 257 acres to the south of the railway line and a further 158 acres to the north.
The village will offer a wide variety of different house types and tenures, for all ages, which will contribute to a cohesive, sustainable community. There will be a mix of house sizes – from mews cottages and flats to larger family homes. Tudeley village will be a sustainable, vibrant place that meets local needs and includes affordable housing.
We are keen to ensure that local families and those with a long-standing connection to the area find a home in the new village. The proportion and type of affordable housing will be determined by TWBC policy, but it is likely to include affordable-to-rent social housing and shared ownership schemes to enable young people to get on the property ladder. There will also be housing provided which takes into account the needs of older residents.
Employment and Economy
Our proposals outline a walkable mixed-use development that will contribute to the local economy and create long-term employment opportunities and workspaces. It will include shops and offices, workshops, community facilities, a new primary school and medical facilities.
The construction of the village itself will create many jobs, both directly and indirectly, for those involved in the construction industry, but also for the many local businesses in the area.
Tunbridge Wells is home to many small businesses and entrepreneurs and a large number of established professional firms. We will provide well designed, flexible offices and workshops, shops, cafes and places to relax, so that people can choose to work close to home.
Long term, the maintenance of the village’s green spaces and community facilities will also contribute to the rural economy and employment in the area.
The level of education provision within the new village will depend on the scale of development ultimately approved. However, it is anticipated that there will be a new three-form-entry primary school located in the village centre to meet on-site need, and that Capel Primary School may expand to accommodate an additional form of entry, towards the end of the plan period.
Land adjacent to Tonbridge has been proposed as an allocation for a new Secondary School, part of Kent County Council’s commissioning plan based on current needs. This school would be linked to the new village via a series of greenways and footpaths, as well as the B2017.
Ecology & Wildlife
We are aware of the many species of wildlife across the Estate. Our long standing conservation measures have contributed to the creation of habitats and wildlife diversity for many years, and these measures will continue into the future.
The site for the proposed village is currently used for grazing horses and farmed for arable crops and fruit.
The modern arable field has a limited wildlife value as it is a monoculture managed with pesticides and fungicides to maintain a viable crop. Orchards and soft fruit cultivation provide slightly greater complexity and biodiversity but are also managed with similar inputs to ensure fruit is produced to the standards supermarkets and shoppers demand.
The more valuable wildlife habitats are found in the field margins, hedgerows, ponds and woodland interspersed through the cropped fields. The majority of these areas of woodland, hedgerows and ponds will be retained as far as possible – intrinsic features of the new village. They will act as wildlife habitats and corridors between public green spaces, private gardens and into the landscape beyond.
Detailed wildlife surveys of the area to identify key species, including any protected species, are ongoing to inform our proposed ecology mitigation measures and biodiversity action plan. We are examining habitat areas and ecology monitoring will continue throughout the planning process.
Across the wider Estate long-standing conservation initiatives will continue to provide valuable wildlife habitats and biodiversity. We intend to explore ways to boost the ecological value of the landscape surrounding the area: enhancing wildlife habitats from the wooded ridges of the Pembury Woods to the wetland meadows and riverside margins of the Medway.
Careful consideration will be given to the woodland and green spaces around All Saints’ Tudeley, in order to protect and enhance its setting.
There are a number of important listed buildings within the local context, including All Saints’ Tudeley and the Church of St Thomas a Becket, Capel – both listed Grade I. Nearby Somerhill is listed Grade I and its park is a Grade II-listed Historic Park and Garden.
We are mindful of heritage buildings in the area, and in particular All Saints’ Tudeley, important thanks to the Chagall windows commissioned by the d’Avigdor-Goldsmid family.
Several of the listed farmhouses and cottages in or near the proposed village site are Estate properties. The masterplan will take account of the character and setting of all the listed buildings in the area. There is much to admire in the architectural form, design detail and quality of materials of these historic buildings and they can provide a valuable ‘pattern language’ in the evolution of the new village design.
Roads and Infrastructure
TWBC is working with key consultees including Kent County Council (the highway, education and lead local flood authority), the Environment Agency and the Clinical Commissioning Group, to plan a long-term strategy for the whole Borough. This will of course take account of the planned new settlements at Tudeley, as well as the additional housing planned around Paddock Wood and elsewhere.
There will be strategic upgrades and investment in local infrastructure to ensure that additional local facilities will be provided as part of any new development, and that the existing transport and utilities are upgraded and improved as necessary for the future.
We have appointed specialists to advise on the transport and highway impacts and requirements of the new Tudeley village proposal, including how the development could provide new road infrastructure linked to the improved A21 corridor, whilst delivering a modal shift towards more sustainable travel patterns in the future.
Within the new village, the focus will be on designing a walkable community, integrating residential, retail and business space with public amenities, so that most of the daily needs of the local residents can be met on foot without the need to use a car. Footpaths and lanes will criss-cross the village to encourage walking rather than car use, and footpaths, cycle paths and greenways will link the village to the farmland and woodlands beyond as well as enabling access to local towns.