16th July 2020
Classicus Estates, a privately-owned property development company, will take a step closer to bringing a well-known landmark back into the community later this month. The planning application for a £30m renovation and redevelopment of the 1930s Grade II listed Len House will be considered by Maidstone Borough Council.
The ambitious proposed plans are for a renovation and restoration project that will provide 3,612sqm of commercial space and 159 newly-built, high-quality homes at Len House, formerly known as the Rootes Building. The application will bring Len House into its new chapter, which will re-establish and secure the buildings long-term iconic standing and status within Maidstone town centre, whilst respecting its former motor engineering history.
The development includes establishing a vibrant new ‘square’ off Mill Street, connecting public space to the adjacent riverside. It will also allow residents, locals and visitors to benefit from a newly landscaped environment, with a central communal area. A commercial ground floor will include a proposed food emporium and parking. Plans also include a two-story extension to the roof and the original style Crittall windows and high interior spaces of the existing building will be retained.
A ‘green’ roof will incorporate solar panels and restoration of the River Len, which will include extensive ecological and biodiversity enhancement including wildlife protection and works to minimise flood risk.
Matthew Brett-Chaponnel, Owner of Classicus Estates Limited, commented, “As we set out our plans for Len House, we first and foremost wanted to respect the heritage and setting of the site and immediate surrounding areas. Len House is an iconic modernist piece of architecture and our plans to redevelop will ensure its long-term sustainable future. The planning application aims to keep as much of the original property in place as possible, whilst enhancing and adding to the building with a new design and build which will complement Len House’s heritage, character and charm.
“We want to redefine this area of Maidstone for the public’s benefit and use, by creating an exceptional space for working and urban living, including the enhancement of the public realm surrounding Palace Avenue, which will contribute to making Maidstone a vibrant and exciting place to live and work.”
Award-winning architects Hollaway have been contracted by Classicus Estates to make sure that this much-loved building is secured by protecting and absorbing the 1930’s modernist features of the building into the design – celebrating its past whilst redefining the town centre of Maidstone.
Video and sketch footage from Guy Hollaway elaborating on the project: https://vimeo.com/433581295/9702fefd42