The proposals

It is proposed to use two parcels of land – one in East Malling and the other on the edge of Ditton – for residential development of around 410 homes, local facilities and open space, which will help fund a new science and research campus.

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The proposed new Science Campus would be the subject of a later planning application. The funding provided from the residential development would ensure the continued scientific activity at East Malling, enabling the Trust and NIAB EMR (formerly East Malling Research) to continue a century-long reputation for worldclass research in top and soft fruits.

In order to continue funding the work of NIAB EMR, East Malling Trust have assessed a number of options as how best this can be achieved. The consensus is that, in the absence of Government funding, this can only be done by releasing a small part of East Malling Trust’s 550-acre estate for development.

East Malling Trust sites

The sites

Planning background

Over the past two years, East Malling Trust has discussed with officers at Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council the potential of residential development at Ditton Edge and Parkside.

At the same time, The Council has been preparing a new Local Plan to guide and manage future development in the Borough up to 2031.

Currently, the Council is in the final stages of preparing its new Local Plan. This sets out locations for new residential, commercial and other development along with a set of policies to facilitate new proposals across the Borough.

Within the draft new Local Plan, the Council has included the Ditton Edge and Parkside sites as locations for residential development. As potential sustainable housing sites, Ditton Edge and Parkside would make significant contributions to the Council’s housing provision.

In the new Local Plan’s housing trajectory, both sites are identified as contributing towards Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council’s housing supply figures starting from 2020-21, in just over a years’ time.

East Malling Trust illustrative master plan


Development proposals at Ditton Edge and Parkside have been prepared to respect and protect the historical assets surrounding their locations.

Bradbourne House is a Grade I Listed Building located within the Bradbourne Conservation Area to the north of East Malling. The House retains part of its landscaped garden although its wider parkland setting has been largely altered due to its reuse for research orchards in the 20th century.

Part of East Malling falls within the East Malling Village Centre Conservation Area. The Grade I Listed Church of St James is located to the north-east of the village.

The location of Ditton Edge is outside of the historic park boundary of Bradbourne House and outside of the Conservation Area. There would be no effect on the Conservation Area or historic park by development at Ditton Edge.

Parkside is located to the far west extent of Bradbourne House historic parkland to avoid a direct impact upon the setting of the House and to ensure that its primary focus southward and views of St James Church are maintained. The layout of development within Parkside assists in minimising the effects on views of the proposals from Bradbourne House and the landscaped garden.

East Malling Trust historic map
View of St James Church from the road
East Malling Trust Bradbourne House

Local setting

Ditton Edge is located within a short walk of local services and facilities including local shops, pubs, restaurants, community centre, education and community infrastructure. The site is located close to the South Aylesford Retail Park. There are a number of regular bus services running to the north of the site along the A20.

In addition, there is close access to the nearby Ditton Quarry Nature Reserve and the wider open countryside to the south. Parkside is located within a short walk of East Malling village providing access to a range of local facilities including convenience store, schools, pubs and restaurants.

East Malling has good pedestrian, cycle and public transport connections including a number of dedicated public rights of way throughout the village. A regular bus service passes the site along New Road. East Malling railway station provides regular services to Maidstone, Ashford International and London.

Master plan

The master plan of the proposed new homes is the subject of the current public consultation. Proposals for plans to create a new Science Campus would be the subject of a future and separate consultation with the local community.