Where

The site is located close to the edge of the settlement boundary south of Pembury and north of the A21. The site comprises a parcel of land next to the existing Tesco, which Tesco originally acquired as part of a potential future expansion of its superstore.

There have been significant changes to retailing nationally, including the substantial growth of online shopping and greater competition as well as improvements in supply-chain technology and merchandising, all of which combine to reduce floorspace requirements. Given these changes in the sector the decision has been taken by Tesco to not to implement the 2012 planning permission for expansion and to make the site available for alternative development.

The site has an existing roundabout access from the A228 (Pembury Road) which already serves the existing Tesco superstore.

The proposed site extends to 2.87 hectares and is predominantly defined by scrub vegetation. There is a well-established tree and hedge boundary around the site which provides significant visual containment in the sites immediate and localised setting.

The site is located within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Designation which extends across a wide expanse of land surrounding Tunbridge Wells and extending to the east.

The edges of the site abut the Green Belt.  Views into the site are limited by extensive boundary landscaping which will be largely retained and will also be supplemented through new planting.

The site enjoys excellent access to local roads, including the recently improved A21, and is an ideal location to be a home for Hendy Group’s vision for a Motor Village.

The proposed site is currently allocated as a park and ride facility. This is a historic planning allocation dating back to 1996 which has not been delivered for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The cost of acquiring the site
  • The limited projected benefit – a maximum three minute journey time reduction and limited take-up with minimal impact on current traffic levels
  • The significant physical challenges of delivering the necessary road widening measures to achieve the necessary bus priority measures on the A264 Pembury Road
  • The impact on existing town centre parking charges
  • The need to amend existing parking restrictions
  • The annual operating costs for the facility would run at a significant deficit.

In this context it is considered that there is no realistic prospect of the site coming forward for park and ride use.

In contrast the development of the Hendy Motor village will secure significant immediate economic benefits including the protection of existing jobs and creation of new jobs, as well as releasing a town centre site for housing.