The first images of what a new garden city in Kent will look like have been unveiled by officials designing the town. Bright portraits, dominated by a landscape of greens and blues, show how Ebbsfleet will look as up to 15,000 homes are built over the next 15 years.
A commercial centre around the international station, designed to attract businesses with a 17-minute journey time to London, is a key feature of the plans which officially go on show for the first time this weekend.
It is hoped Ebbsfleet Central, as the centre will be known, will create more than 30,000 jobs inside 45,000sq m of offices, factories and warehousing.
Seven city parks feature in the proposals being put forward by Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC), the body set up by the Government to mastermind the new town and approve planning applications.
It said its proposals already have the backing of landowners and developers, many of whom are already on site building a range of new houses and apartments.
There are seven developers on site building 860 homes. So far, only about 440 homes have been built at the garden city location, on mainly ex-quarry land between Gravesend and Dartford, over the last 20 years.
Michael Cassidy, chairman of the EDC, said: “It’s important to point out that our document has the weight of developers, land owners and investors behind it which means this exciting vision for Ebbsfleet Garden City is already becoming a reality.
“The pace of growth in the garden city over the last 12 months has been impressive with major developers now on site building hundreds of homes.”
The masterplan also includes upgrades to the Fastrack bus system, with 90% of people living in the town set to be within five minutes of a stop.
Residents will live in eight new urban villages, connected by new pedestrian bridges and walkways to Swanscombe, Northfleet and Greenhithe.
The city parks will be spread across the town but the most significant will be next to the station, with “dramatic views across the county” according to the EDC.
The River Thames will be opened up with new promenade walks giving the public access to the waterfront in this area for the first time in a century.
Meanwhile, a series of open spaces will be developed along the River Ebbsfleet, with public access extending along the Thames to Gravesham in the east and around the Swanscombe Peninsula and Dartford in the west.
The plans, dubbed the Ebbsfleet Garden City Implementation Framework, take into account a proposed London Paramount entertainment resort on the Swanscombe Peninsula, with its proposed dedicated access route from the A2.
Paul Spooner, interim chief executive of the EDC, said: “The plans mark an historic milestone in the future of the garden city.
“Not only have we seen some rapid growth in house building already, but we are now moving on to develop a thriving new commercial centre for Ebbsfleet, as well as new city parks and walks and cycle ways that will make the garden city well connected and will exploit the connections to London and Europe from the international station.”
Before the EDC was launched, only 298 homes had been built at Ebbsfleet in 20 years. Since its launch 18 months ago, it has added another 136 homes, taking that total to 439.
The EDC plans say 5,100 homes will be built by the end of this parliament in 2020. No official number is given beyond that point but draft proposals, seen by Kent Business this summer, committed to building 10,964 homes by April 2026.
There are seven developers on site at present, building 860 homes.
These include Redrow constructing 180 homes as part of its Ebbsfleet Green site and Countryside adding 123 homes to Springhead Park, returning to construction there for the first time in four years.
Last month, Keepmoat announced plans for another 700 homes at Northfleet Embankment East, with a planning application expected before the end of the year.
In July, a £12 million pedestrian and vehicle bridge was approved, linking Springhead Park with Ebbsfleet International Station.
A new primary school in the Eastern Quarry was approved in March and is under construction. It is due to accept its first pupils in September next year.
The proposals for Ebbsfleet Garden City will be on show at a series of walk-in public exhibitions. The next ones are at:
• Millbrook Garden Centre in Southfleet on Saturday, October 1, from 10am to 2pm.
• The Observatory in Swanscombe on Thursday, October 6, from 4pm to 7pm.
• Swanscombe and Greenhithe town council hall on Saturday, October 8 from noon to 4pm
• Ebbsfleet International Station on Wednesday, October 19 from 4pm to 7pm
• Northfleet Veterans Club on Saturday, October 29 from 10am to 2pm
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