Armstrong Kent LLP, the owner of Fort Halstead, has carried out a three stage engagement process on the future of the site which is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This follows the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory’s (DSTL’s) announcement in 2011 that it will be relocating its operations to Portsdown West and Porton Down by 2018, leaving a large proportion of the site vacant.
The community planning weekend in July 2012 marked the second stage of this process and followed a series of public exhibitions held in May 2012 in Dunton Green, Knockholt, Otford and Halstead.
The community planning weekend built on the feedback received at the exhibitions, looking at the issues raised in more detail to plan positively for Fort Halstead’s future. It provided an opportunity to share local knowledge and contribute to the emerging vision for Fort Halstead’s future through workshops and hands-on planning groups. The aim of the event was to draw up a viable and sustainable vision for the site and its relationship with the surrounding villages following DSTL’s departure. This vision formed the basis of a Development Brief for Fort Halstead that provided guidance for future planning applications. The outcome of the community planning weekend was presented to the local community at a feedback session.
JTP subsequently prepared an outline planning application for the site which was submitted in March 2015.
Feedback on the emerging application masterplan from public exhibitions held in October 2014 shaped the application.
- Mixed uses including land for new business premises, up to 450 new homes, a hotel and village centre.
- Reuse of the fort (a Scheduled Monument) and bunkers to provide an historic interpretation centre.
- Conversion of military buildings including some Grade II listed structures.
- Attractive green infrastructure to create a setting for homes.
- Management plan to protect areas of high ecological value.
- New planting to and enhance biodiversity of other areas.