Frequently asked questions
1. What are the objectives/rationale for this consultation? Why are you talking to us now about this?
Following the Masterplan consultation in 2018 the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) have been developing plans for Grove Road based on the themes of the Masterplan and the feedback from the community and other stakeholders. EDC now want to re-engage with the community with these more developed plans ahead of submitting an outline planning application later in 2020. The comments given during this consultation will be reviewed and taken account of before any planning application is submitted. A Statement of Community Involvement will also form part of the application and will summarise the consultation process and approach undertaken.
2. Who are the EDC and what role do they play in this application?
The EDC is tasked with the creation of a 21st Century Garden City in North Kent, facilitating the delivery at pace of up to 15,000 homes as part of a large-scale mixed-use development. EDC is a government ‘arms-length’ body sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). We are not for profit and are the planning authority for the Ebbsfleet Garden City.
The EDC is bringing the planning application forward for the Grove Road site, which means the EDC are both the applicant and determining authority. As a Development Corporation, the EDC has capacity for direct investment and development of land to unlock sites. In addition, and separate to this role, the EDC also have the ability to determine planning applications. This is a key mechanism for ensuring the delivery of high-quality, sustainable development needed to fulfil the vision for the Garden City.
EDC has engaged with Gravesham Borough Council and Kent County Council, as Highways Authority, as part of the pre-application process and will formally consult them again once the application has been submitted.
3. What is an outline planning application?
In this instance the EDC will be submitting an outline planning application for the Grove Road scheme. An outline application establishes the principles and parameters of a scheme but does not specify the final detail. Following approval, the applicant or chosen developer(s) will have to submit another application which is called a Reserved Matters Application. This will typically include information about the layout, access, scale, appearance and landscaping of the development. The applicant or developer(s) will consult with the community on the final details ahead of submitting any reserved matters application, likely to be in 2021/22. They will have to follow the principles set out in the outline planning permission.
4. What is the Planning Policy position of Grove Road?
Although EDC is the determining authority for planning applications in this location, the local authority, in this case Gravesham Borough Council (GBC), have retained plan-making powers. Planning applications are determined by EDC in accordance with the GBC development plan, which for this site comprises the Gravesham Local Plan Core Strategy and Policies Map (September 2014), saved policies from the adopted Gravesham Local Plan First Review 1994 and the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan.
The Grove Road site is allocated in the Gravesham Local Plan Core Strategy for residential-led mixed-use development.
5. What EDC guidance is there to shape the development?
In addition to the adopted planning policies, guidance produced by EDC is taken into account when determining planning applications. Alongside the overall vision for the garden city (https://ebbsfleetdc.org.uk/the-vision/) there are a number of EDC guidance documents that seek to shape the future development of the Ebbsfleet, including design, public realm and sustainability. Further information can be found at https://www.designforebbsfleet.org/
6. What happened in the previous Masterplan Consultation?
In 2018, public consultation was undertaken on the masterplan proposals for Grove Road and Old Northfleet Riverside, which comprised the current Grove Road application site and the adjacent Northfleet Embankment West site.
Analysis of the consultation responses provided a number of key themes and areas to consider for future development. The comprised the following:
Restoration of Northfleet Harbour and celebration of industrial heritage
Improved roads, footpaths and cycle routes
Need for more open space for formal and informal recreation
Need for a mix of housing types and tenures
Impact on existing services and infrastructure
Impact on existing community
7. What is the proposed housing going to be like and will any of it be affordable?
The scheme includes new homes that appeal to households of all sizes and at different stages of life (including homes for older people). A minimum of 30% of all new homes will be affordable. The proposal will include a large proportion of 1 and 2 bed apartments and larger 3 bed family homes.
8. Will the ‘affordable homes’ be genuinely affordable?
The tenure mix of affordable provision will be in accordance with Gravesham policy requirements, including affordable rented, social rented accommodation and intermediate housing.
Affordable means a charge up to 80% of the local market rent. Social rented rates are determined through the national rent regime. Intermediate housing refers to homes for sale and rent, provided at a cost above social rent but below market levels subject to the affordable housing definition.
9. How will the affordable homes be managed and allocated?
The management of affordable homes (including older peoples accommodation) will be provided either by the local authority or a private registered provider.
10. What form of housing will be provided for older people?
Housing for older people can offer different levels of care and be managed by a variety of operators. The form of this housing will be defined at a later stage.
11. What type of housing will there be?
The proposals for the outline application currently indicate a mixture of apartments and houses. However, the final mix of housing will be determined further down the line at Reserved Matters stage, which the local community will continue to be consulted on.
12. What height will the new buildings be?
The proposal is for a maximum height of 5 storeys across the site. However, lower heights will be more suitable in some areas of the site to respond to the surrounding context. The consultation boards and the outline planning application will indicate what a development of up to 320 new homes could look like. However, this will be indicative with permission for scale and appearance within the parameters established in the outline permission to be confirmed further down the line at Reserved Matters stage. The community will continue to be consulted on the proposals as they develop following outline permission.
The proposed maximum building heights respond to previous feedback from the community as part of the previous masterplan consultation. Consultees did not want to see tall buildings in the area. The building heights proposed are generally in keeping with the adjoining development proposals to the east of College Road.
13. What will happen to existing businesses?
EDC are in the process of acquiring the sites from existing landowners. Where a site is occupied by a business, EDC will be making every effort to support them to find new premises..
14. Will there be office space, shops or cafes?
The ground floor uses fronting Grove Road and the Fastrack route have been identified as suitable locations for flexible non-residential uses. These areas could be offices, shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants or leisure and community uses. This is true of the ground floor uses around the plaza which will enjoy riverside views and will be particularly well suited to cafes, restaurants and pubs with outside seating.
15. Will the new homes have car parking spaces?
The proposed car parking includes a mixture of driveways, on-street parking and podium parking. Podium parking spaces will be available to those living in the apartments and be provided at ground floor level beneath the first-floor courtyard amenity space and therefore benefit from being secure and sheltered from the elements. Each of the townhouses will have private on-plot parking. Other spaces will be available for vehicles to park on the street. Parking will be provided in accordance with the recently published EDC Sustainable Travel Strategy ‘Connecting People and Places’ (2020).
There will also be a small number of parking spaces for non-residential uses.
16. Will there be cycle parking and will the new development be cycling friendly?
There will be one secure cycle storage space per bedroom in the development (with the exception of the housing for older people which will have one space per home). The new roads will all be cycling friendly with Grove Road incorporating segregated cycle lanes with secure cycle parking for residents and on-street cycle parking for visitors.
17. What private amenity spaces will the new homes have access to?
All of the new homes will have access to private green space. For the townhouses this will be back gardens whilst the apartments will enjoy raised, first floor courtyards adjoining their buildings and private amenity space in the form of balconies.
18. How is the new development connected to the wider road network and public transport?
The area is already well served by rail with access to Northfleet station to the south, with connecting services to London Victoria, and Ebbsfleet International which connects the area to London St Pancras in 17 minutes.
In line with the proposals set out in the masterplan and the feedback received during the previous consultation, we propose to link the new development to the wider road network via a new shared Fastrack link which will run through the scheme along Grove Road. The route will continue south up to Stonebridge Roundabout and to the east, continuing alongside the river through the adjacent Northfleet Embankment West development land.
The accessibility and viability of Fastrack is further enhanced by a ‘public transport oriented’ development approach which locates higher density house types, such as apartments, along the streets served by Fastrack, so more people are able to live within a 2-3 minute walk of a frequent bus service. EDC aim to ensure all new residents will be within a 5 minute walk of a Fastrack stop.
This new road, continuing the alignment of the existing Grove Road, would host two lanes of traffic and cycle lanes in both directions.
19. Where will the new bus routes go and where will the new bus stops be?
It is envisaged Fastrack route A will connect Bluewater shopping centre, Ebbsfleet International and the Grove Road site to Gravesham Town Centre. Bus stops will be provided along Grove Road with final locations to be determined at a later stage. It is the intention for the majority of new residents to be within a 5 minute walk of a Fastrack stop.
20. What community benefits does the scheme offer?
As part of the scheme the northern part of the site next to the River Thames will be transformed into a public waterfront park which will both celebrate the industrial and maritime history of the area and provide an attractive green space for the whole community to enjoy. This was a key theme of the Masterplan, which received lots of positive feedback from the community.
The new park will be a community hub, providing a green oasis where local residents will be able to enjoy nature and engage in recreational activities including play areas for children. It will also act as a gateway to the proposed Northfleet River Park which stretches from Robins Creek along the embankment to Cable Wharf promenade in the east, and a connection to the proposed Ebbsfleet River Park to the south.
A new plaza around the existing Scheduled Ancient Monument of Aspdin’s Kiln will enjoy long distance views across the Creek and river and will be home to active ground floor uses including shops, cafes and restaurants.
Alongside the celebration of the area’s industrial heritage, a dedicated community use will be provided to the west of Grove Road.
21. How can we be sure that the community benefits, including the new waterfront park, will be delivered? Who is paying for it?
The Riverfront Park comprising the existing Robins Creek, is part of a wider proposal for the Northfleet Riverside and will be delivered by EDC (alongside Fastrack highway). It is envisaged the area within the current Grove Road site boundary will be delivered as an initial phase of the development.
22. Who will be responsible for maintaining the new park once it is built?
EDC will be responsible for delivery and will ensure ongoing maintenance is in place.
23. What use will the new community centre be put to and who and how will it be managed?
It is envisaged the proposed community centre (around 150sqm) will be a flexible ‘neighbourhood’ hub providing community uses such as a café and an event and meeting space.
24. How will the industrial history of the site be celebrated?
The site has a long industrial history that is worthy of memorialising and celebrating. The waterfront park at Robin’s Creek will feature many restored heritage features. The scheme also includes Aspdin’s Kiln, which is the oldest of its kind in the world and currently not visible to the public. Currently very little of the waterfront park area is accessible, resulting in a collection of disconnected heritage assets which are not easily accessible for the public to enjoy. The proposals will seek to restore the existing slipway within the Creek, a part of the harbour wall and potentially retain the Foundry building to the west Grove Road.
25. Will there be pedestrian and cycle routes that open up both the new homes and the waterfront park to the wider community?
Yes, the waterfront is currently cut off and no easy access exists. The scheme will create easy, green and pleasant routes through the site to the waterfront park. This will directly connect Northfleet with the River Thames.
26. Is the land contaminated from its previous industrial use and when it gets redeveloped how will you keep existing residents safe?
EDC have conducted desk top surveys to identify whether the site is suitable for redevelopment and residential use.
A contamination assessment will be conducted and included as part of the outline planning application. If any contaminants are found, appropriate mitigation measures will be put in place to ensure existing and future residents are safe and that development will not harm the environment.
27. How does this site fit in with the surrounding area, including the neighbouring Northfleet Embankment West site and existing community?
The Grove Road site is part of a larger masterplan area and overall vison for the surrounding sites. The adjacent development (Northfleet Embankment West) has outline permission for up to 532 new homes alongside employment uses and new public open spaces. The two sites together will form part of a better connected and extended mixed use Northfleet community.
The proposed development will also incorporate pedestrian linkages to the neighbouring Wallis Park and The Hive, improving connections of existing residents to the riverside. East-west pedestrian connections will also be improved, enabling greater access to public transport connections to the south and The Hive.
28. Won’t the new homes be a burden on local services like GPs, schools and roads?
The proposals will provide new highways, pedestrian and cycle paths that will connect to the surrounding area. Financial contributions to education, healthcare and other local services will be secured through a legal agreement if the planning application is approved to fund local services and increase capacity in the surrounding area.
29. How will the outline planning application be determined and what will be the next steps if it is approved?
The outline planning application will be determined by EDC’s planning committee, who will assess the scheme in relation to compliance with national and local planning policy and other material considerations such as published EDC guidance.
The EDC are about to start the process of appointing a developer partner and responses to this consultation will inform that process. The chosen developer, following outline approval, will progress the Reserved Matters application and discharge conditions attached to the planning consent. At this stage the proposals will really take shape and include details on the layout, access, scale and appearance of the development. The applicant or developer(s) will consult with the community on the final details ahead of submitting any Reserved Matters application.
30. How can I give my feedback?
You can give your feedback by visiting our website at www.groveroadedc.co.uk and following the directions to the ‘Have your say’ section. You can also fill in the physical feedback form that you may have received in the post if you live close to the Grove Road site. There is a freepost code so you can send this form back to us for free.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with us by calling
0800 319 6165 (freephone between 09:00 – 17:00) or emailing us at
31. When will work begin on site and when will the scheme be completed?
Construction is anticipated to start in 2021/2022 and the scheme is anticipated to be fully built out by 2029.