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It’s a win:win as new housing will help fund fruit research

Proceeds from land sale will contribute towards horticultural charity's redevelopment plans

Leading property developer Dandara has bought a 16-acre plot of land with permission to build 110 new homes on the edge of East Malling village. The development will include everything from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom houses and not only provides much-needed housing for the local community, but also aids cutting edge horticultural research.

The land was bought from the East Malling Trust, a charity focused on the advancement of horticultural and plant-based research to benefit the public and the industry from its 500-acre estate. The trust will use proceeds from the sale to help co-fund the delivery of Phase 1 of its campus redevelopment, including a state-of-the-art facilities building and glasshouses; helping to expand the area’s reputation for world-class research into fruit trees and soft fruit growing.

Rupert Home, development director at Dandara South East, says: “The acquisition of this site reflects Dandara’s continued commitment to developing high quality, reasonably priced homes in the best locations throughout the south-east. Its purchase will result in significant re-investment in the East Malling horticultural and agricultural research centre, while its development will create local economic activity, provide jobs and deliver essential private and affordable housing.”

Oliver Doubleday, chairman of East Malling Trust, says: “We were impressed with Dandara’s vision for the residential development which reflects the local area’s architecture and landscape, and aligns with our commitment to be a good neighbour to residents in East Malling and Ditton.

Oliver adds: “The revenue generated from the sale of the land, which is no longer required for field trials, will help continue protect and develop more than a century of world-class scientific research undertaken here in Kent.”

The development, to be called The Sweetings, will provide a wide range of properties from one- and two-bedroom apartments to a diverse selection of two-tofive-bedroom houses, including townhouses, terraced, semi-detached and detached homes.

Every new home will come with allocated parking, supplemented by a generous provision of visitor spaces, while also creating new footpaths and cycleways to encourage environmentally-friendly car-free journeys.

The design has been landscape-led with special care taken to preserve the on-site mature trees and historic hedges. These green corridors have defined the layout design and have been integrated into visually appealing street scenes, which will be complemented with a new pond, and areas of public open space and children’s play facilities that will be open for the wider community to enjoy, too.

Image by jakubkoralewski from Pixabay

Dandara has appointed On Architecture to lead the design process, drawing on traditional Kentish features from the surrounding area to ensure that the new development will blend into its North Downs surroundings. Homes will be built from red bricks with weatherboarding, chimneys and decorative features including tile hangings and brick arches above windows to create an aesthetically pleasing environment.

A quarter of the new homes will be affordable housing, with 70% of those being available for affordable rent and the rest for purchase using shared ownership. With homes suitable for single people, couples, new families and larger households, The Sweetings has been designed to support the foundation of a thriving new community.

The site is close to East Malling station, which offers peak time services reaching London Victoria in just less than an hour, as well as easy road connections to the M20. The centre of the village is a short walk away, and has a community centre, café and its own secondary school, with two primary schools and a wider selection of shops available in the neighbouring village of Larkfield.

Founded in 1988, Dandara is currently focusing on boutique developments around Kent and Sussex, and The Sweetings adds to a growing portfolio of land in these desirable areas.

For more information about the development, visit, email or call 01732 622 127.


David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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