For beleaguered motorists who have endured traffic problems on the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury for years, increased congestion at the Longfield Road roundabout recently will have been extremely unwelcome.
However, drivers will soon start to feel the benefits of two new road improvement schemes that will help to alleviate congestion and greatly improve the flow of traffic at North Farm – an area of Tunbridge Wells that is growing increasingly popular.
At the same time as these much-needed road improvements take place, work is also progressing at Knights Wood, a collection of 550 stylish new homes from award-winning Dandara that also involves the construction of the eagerly anticipated Skinners’ Kent Primary School.
Each of these landmark developments will bring unique benefits to the area:
A21 dual-carriageway between Tonbridge and Pembury
Value: £69.7 million
Main contractor: Balfour Beatty
Scheduled completion: Spring 2017
This long-awaited £70 million scheme by Highways England, to upgrade a 2.5 mile stretch of road between Tonbridge and Pembury from single to dual carriageway started late last year and is expected to be fully complete by Spring 2017.
This section of the A21 has long-suffered from severe congestion, especially at peak times. However, the construction of a new road that broadly follows the route of the existing A21 will bring significant benefits to the local road network.
Parts of the existing A21 will be retained to provide access to houses, businesses, fields and woodlands, with a new junction at Longfield Road to replace the existing roundabout that serves as an entry point to North Farm but often becomes a traffic bottleneck.
Highways England Senior Project Manager Graham Link said,
“The A21 is a vital route linking the region to the M25 and London. The new section will provide much needed capacity to reduce congestion and will also improve safety with a better road layout and new junctions.”
Longfield Road improvement scheme
Value: £7.35 million
Main contractor: Lafarge Tarmac
Scheduled completion: Late summer 2015
Work on this Kent County Council scheme to tackle traffic congestion in the area is scheduled to be complete during late summer.
Designed to take into account feedback from local businesses and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, the scheme has involved the dualling of one kilometre of the carriageway between the Dowding Way roundabout and the A21, as well as replacing traffic signals on North Farm with roundabouts. There will also be a shared footway and cycleway along the improved road.
Once finished, the scheme will reduce congestion on Longfield Road, improve journey times and access to and from the area as a whole. Main vehicle access to Dandara’s Knights Wood development is from Knights Way via Longfield Road, with the road improvement scheme set to be finished in time for the completion of the first homes at Knights Wood.
Skinners’ Kent Primary School
The Skinners’ Kent Primary School (SKPS) is a new, purpose-built school currently under construction at Knights Wood. Sponsored and led by The Skinners’ School and The Skinners’ Kent Academy, SKPS will educate boys and girls aged 4 to 11 and will open for the first time in September this year, initially with 30 places in the Reception class and 15 places in Year One.
Whilst construction work is being undertaken, which is scheduled for completion in April 2016, SKPS will be housed temporarily at the nearby Skinners’ Kent Academy, in a high-quality building with bespoke facilities for new starters. There will be a phased programme of growth to a capacity of 210 pupils across seven classes.
Sian Carr, who is Executive Principal of The Skinners’ Kent Academy and SKPS, said,
“Skinners’ Kent Primary School will offer a vibrant learning environment in a beautiful setting, with experienced staff and an exciting curriculum designed to ensure all pupils embrace learning. We are delighted to deliver this high quality education and add to the educational provision in Tunbridge Wells.”
Set in over 200 acres of established Kentish woodland on the edge of Tunbridge Wells, Knights Wood is a stylish collection of new homes from award-winning developer Dandara. Unveiled to the public for the first time in June 2014, the first phase sold very quickly and the second phase – The Lanes – is proving equally as successful, following its launch in March this year.
Popular with young professionals and families alike, who have been attracted by the tranquil surroundings, purpose-built primary school, plus the style and excellent value of the homes on offer, Knights Wood has rapidly become a popular residential destination. With High Brooms station nearby, Knights Wood also offers the convenience of an easy commute.
As well as the creation of Knights Wood, Dandara has played an important part in changes that are currently taking shape at North Farm. Recognising the historical traffic issues in the area, Dandara worked closely with Kent County Council even before planning permission for Knights Wood was granted, funding several traffic modelling studies. This helped inform the development of the area, of which the Longfield Road improvement scheme is a part and which went ahead following a contribution from Dandara of over £3 million towards the total cost. The scheme also required the gifting of land in Dandara’s ownership, along with land owned by a number of other landowners and retail clients in the area.
Dandara has also contributed £3.95 million towards the construction of Skinners’ Kent Primary School.
Speaking of the success of Knights Wood to date, Susie Bennett, Sales Director at Dandara said, “We are delighted to be playing a key role in the growth of this part of Tunbridge Wells, which has emerged as a popular destination in its own right. New residents will be able to enjoy Knights Wood’s various green open spaces, yet still have the popular Knights Park retail park within walking distance, which features a cinema, bowling alley and a new Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre.
“Although the road improvement schemes have caused disruption in the short term, they will bring huge benefits in the long run and mean that Knights Wood is an excellent base from which to enjoy all of the benefits that Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area have to offer.”
Prices for the remaining three and four-bedroom homes are from £450,000 to £545,000.
Register your interest in The Lanes now to avoid disappointment, or calling 01892 800580. Alternatively, please visit the Marketing Suite at Knights Wood, which is open daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm.