How has the scheme evolved?
The proposals follow a series of public exhibitions and meetings with key stakeholders.
Essential Land held a two and a half day exhibition at the Orchards Shopping Centre and the Temple Hill Community Centre between 21 and 23 October 2010 to showcase its initial proposals – click here to see the exhibition panels. Leaflets inviting local people to participate were distributed to residents prior to the exhibition and the events were also publicised in local media. Just under 400 individual visitors attended.
Local interest groups were invited to participate and so were locally elected representatives. Around 150 members of Dartford’s Elders Forum also received a presentation and gave their feedback.
Following consultation with the local community and key stakeholders Essential Land has amended the design of the scheme which was presented at the community involvement events. Details of the feedback received from community consultation and Essential Land’s response is set out in a Statement of Community Involvement which forms part of the planning application submission.
The key changes to the scheme comprise:
Shape and form of Mill Pond buildings
Feedback: Some stakeholders felt that the height of the Mill Pond buildings should be more consistent with those in Dartford Town Centre and that the design could be more wharf like in consideration of its waterside location.
Response: The height of the Mill Pond buildings has been significantly reduced from 9 to 10 storeys to 5 to 6 storeys and the design team has introduced buildings of different shapes and with more variety in the roof lines to soften its appearance from the town centre. In addition, the buildings would incorporate pitched roofs and balconies and draw on the features of old factory buildings which have typically graced wharf locations.
Mill Pond podium
Feedback: To accommodate car parking beneath, the Mill Pond buildings were raised on a series of podiums with steps leading down to the Mill Pond. This raised the height of the buildings and increased the amount of hard standing around the waterfront which was of concern to a number of stakeholders.
Response: The car park would be relocated behind the Mill Pond buildings allowing a larger landscaped public space to be incorporated around the pond.
Layout of residential areas
Feedback: Local people suggested that all homes should have a garden and the building density should be reduced to provide more of a village feel.
Response: Essential Land’s design team has since revised the layout to make the development feel less crowded. All homes would now include gardens, with some of the larger homes comprising gardens up to 12 metres in length.
Feedback: Some consultees suggested that the site should be split into smaller areas of distinct character.
Response: The scheme would be based on the urban village model and split into eleven character areas each with a village square at its centre.
Type of housing
Feedback: Local people were keen to see more family homes provided. A resident attending the public exhibition in October commented: “Dartford needs family houses not just starter homes.”
Response: Around 80 percent of the 1000 new homes would comprise three and four bedrooms.
New shops and cafes
Feedback: Consultees felt that new shops should be clustered to inject life into the area and not spread out. Local people also wanted to see more commercial space to create more jobs.
Response: All new shops and other commercial uses would be located east of the river. Around 3000 sq m of new commercial space including community uses would be provided, creating in the region of 80 to 150 new jobs.