Work to improve community facilities on the Spitals Cross estate, Edenbridge began in November 2023.
The £10.3m project will make a significant contribution to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the area. The project includes 64 parking spaces (including four new areas of parking to serve the wider estate), a modern community hall and shop, 23 environmentally-friendly homes, cycle parking, better public signage, enhanced landscaping, open space and a new play area. Sevenoaks District Council has appointed Oakwood Building Contractors Ltd to undertake the construction works for the project.
Work began when the interiors of the existing social club, run by the Fircroft Tenants and Residents Association (FTRA), and shop being removed. Both buildings are set to be demolished with the main construction works beginning early in the New Year (2024).
The entire project is expected to take around two years with completion in early 2026.
The social club and shop were built in the 1960s and have served the community well for many years but both are in need of significant improvement.
Parking on the estate has also been a problem in recent years. Few people owned a car when the London County Council built the estate 60 years ago, but the area has now become congested with many residents struggling to park their vehicles.
Following two extensive consultations in 2022, the Council produced updated plans that took on board residents’ comments, including fewer new homes than first proposed and more parking spaces. Planning permission for was approved for all the works on 17 August 2023.
The parking spaces include some electric charging points. The new community hall includes a fit-for purpose multi-use area, kitchen and improved storage so it can, once again, become a community and events space at the hub of the estate. The shop will be modernised to provide a valuable retail offer to local residents and the wider community.
The 23 new homes are helping to pay towards the community improvements along with £375,000 of funding secured from the Brownfield Land Release Fund.
The Brownfield Land Release Fund is a cross-Government initiative between the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and One Public Estate (OPE) which is delivered in partnership by the Local Government Association and the Cabinet Office.