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Sat June 19 2021

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Sevenoaks approves £40m high street development

13 May Freshwater Developments has secured planning permission to replace a former supermarket on Sevenoaks High Street with flats.

The planned Chandlers Place development in Sevenoaks
The planned Chandlers Place development in Sevenoaks

The £40m development in the Kent commuter town will see the construction of three blocks, up to six-storeys high, with 104 flats and shops on the ground floor.

Freshwater has owned the site for many years and has been working on redevelopment plans since the closure of the Tesco store in 2018.

The new Chandlers Place at 136 High Street in Sevenoaks has been designed by DLA Architecture. Council officers approved the plans commenting that the proposal was a well-designed building.

The Sevenoaks Society opposed the planning application, saying that while it wanted to see the old Tesco store replaced, Freshwater’s plan fell short – out of scale, too massive, not enough affordable housing (12% instead of Sevenoaks District Council’s usual requirement for 40%) and only 52 car parking spaces for 104 flats. It also said “the design is of poor quality, with many of the flats failing to meet daylight and sunlight standards, and liable to overheating.”

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Society chairman David Green said: “Granting consent for these proposals would set a precedent for bulky, high rise development in the town centre with no improvement to the public realm, and would result in exacerbated parking problems and a continuing and worsening shortage of affordable housing.”

However, Charles Jabre, project leader for DLA Architecture, said “Our design approach has been contextual, drawing upon the historical architecture of Sevenoaks to create a contemporary, narrative led design response with high quality homes.

“Chandler’s Place is designed to open up the site for the local neighbourhood through the inclusion of a high-quality new public realm along the High Street and a dedicated public pedestrian route linking to the Kaleidoscope Arts centre as part of the town’s cultural quarter.”

The professional team includes Elliot Wood as structural engineer, ESD as building services engineer, Connect Consultants as transport planners and Freeth’s as planning consultants.

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