Kent History & Library Centre
James Whatman Way, Maidstone
|Developer/Landlord||Kent County Council and Bouygues UK Ltd in partnership with West Kent Housing Association and Housing 21 Agent DHA Planning|
|Landscape Architect||Brett Landscaping|
The application comprised a County Archive Centre; A new central lending library for Maidstone; 60 Residential Homes; 57 Extra-Care Residential Units; 26 car park spaces for residents, 5 car park spaces for extra care home staff and visitors, 3 spaces for library/archive public users and 2 spaces for library staff contained within the site boundary; The highly visible location and strategic importance of the proposed development necessitated a fully involved pre-application discussion process. The successful project team were chosen after an open competition organised by the principal landowner and investor Kent County Council, through which the design principles first evolved. A series of pre-application meetings with the Borough Council at which the design further evolved then followed.
An integral part of this was a formal review of the scheme by the South East Design Panel. This took place at an early stage in the process to enable the Design Panel’s comments to be fully taken on board. The key areas raised by the Panel included the pedestrian links to the entrance of the new library and archive centre, the north facing flats, useable outdoor space, public art and sustainability.
The scheme was re-shaped to address these concerns. The Council then commented further on the revised design and the scheme was also presented to key Councillors including local Ward Councillors.
The key changes resulted in the the built footprint of the Archive and Library Centre being slightly has decreased, and in the Archive Centre interlocking at lower ground floor level with the proposed block of extra care home units. The proposed number of residential dwellings was also reduced to 117. Internally, the number of north-facing flats was reduced and windows provided on all of the proposed elevations. The overall reduction in the built footprint opened up opportunities for more open space around the site and opened up views of the development from the surrounding area In terms of parking, the number of spaces were reduced to appropriately reflect the sustainability of the site and its accessibility to other modes of transport.