The prospect of more than 3,000 new jobs and significant local road improvements has moved an important step forward after the owners of the former Aylesford Newsprint site submitted a planning application for its redevelopment.

After consulting with the local community, Panattoni, Europe’s largest privately-owned industrial developer, has finalised its plans which include investing in a £6 millionnew link road connecting Bellingham Way and Station Road to enhance the local transport network.

The proposed link road to be completed before the industrial units, will improve the distribution of traffic at junctions 4 and 5 of the M20 and deliver an overall reduction in congestion.

A weight limit will also ensure that all HGVs entering and exiting the Aylesford Newsprint site – to be renamed Panattoni Park Aylesford – will travel along Bellingham Way to Junction 4 via Leybourne Way. It is proposed that Bellingham Way will become a public highway and be adopted by Kent County Council, a move supported by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council.

To further improve the local transport network, Panattoni is working with bus operator Arriva, and proposing to invest in connecting the existing route with Maidstone town centre via the site. A service, supported by Panattoni for five years until it becomes financially viable, will operate every 30 minutes, matching it with shift patterns and flexible working arrangements.

The team at Panattoni is also working closely with Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and Kent County Council to ensure cycling to work at Panattoni Park is an attractive option. Electric bike stations are proposed subject to third-party agreement at Aylesford train station, the local superstore and Leybourne Lakes Country Park to help people get to and from work, and also promote wellbeing and fitness for staff

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