Weston Homes promises "21st take on garden suburb" for Dartford site

A house builder is to transform a site that was once part of a Victorian factory into an £80 million 'garden village'.

Weston Homes bought the Mill Ponds site near Dartford town centre and will build 400 waterside homes in the next three years.

A spokeswoman said the garden village was a "21st century take on the garden suburb" and would feature a large pond, shops and houses around green spaces, leafy lanes and roads.

The site was once occupied by the Pheonix paper mill, built in 1852, with the large mill pond created to help power the facility. This was replaced in 1889 by Wellcome pharmaceutical factory.

Seven years ago the Dartford factory was wound down and eventually closed by new owners GlaxoSmithKline.

Plans to remediate and regenerate the former factory's brownfield land begun five years ago, led by masterplanner Delancey.

"Weston Homes hasn't yet appointed a landscape architect," said the spokeswoman. "One will be selected by the end of 2015. The site is in its very early days for the project at present."

Weston Homes chairman and managing director Bob Weston said: "Our new £80 million garden village will transform surplus industrial land and bring it back to use.

"Stamp duty on £2 million-plus homes and mansion tax concerns has slowed the central London market and focused investor and developer attention on outer London and commuter belt locations."

Acquisition of the Mill Ponds site is part of Weston Homes' £1 billion expansion programme which is set to double the size of the company over the next five years.

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