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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK
Housing proposal for disused mill
Buckland Mill
A mix of housing and leisure facilities is planned for Buckland Mill
A derelict site in Kent could become a 50m housing development under plans put forward by the site's owners.

The South East England Development Agency (Seeda) has taken two years to draw up plans for the Buckland Paper Mill in Dover, which closed in 2002.

It will include 300 new homes, retail space, riverside walks and cycle paths.

Stephen Sadler, Seeda project director, said the sustainable mixed development would open up a site "that had been behind a brick wall for 100 years".

We really want to bring in new blood and new employment to the district
Martin Wood, Gillcrest Homes

He said the key to the proposals was the River Dour, which runs through the 3.9 hectare site and would create an enjoyable "ambience and walk".

The development is a joint venture with Gillcrest Homes.

Deputy managing director, Martin Wood, said the site would offer a mixture of affordable and premium housing.

"We aim to fulfil the needs of the local market, but hopefully to also encourage people to move to Dover... we really want to bring in new blood and new employment to the district," he said.

Labour's Dover MP Gwynn Prosser has given his approval to the development, but has expressed concerns about the provision of primary schools given county council plans to close schools because of falling numbers.

Public consultation

"Just half a mile in one direction Melbourne School could be closed very soon, and half a mile in the other direction St Radigund's School could be closed if Kent County Council get their way," he said.

Dover District councillor Jan Tranter said she hoped the development would boost the campaigns to keep the schools open, and to get them upgraded.

The people of Dover are being given the chance to comment on the plans for the regeneration scheme at Buckland Mill as part of a consultation process getting under way this week.

The results will be incorporated within the planning application, which is due to be submitted in the autumn.




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