The Meeting Point: Swanley
This project will deliver ‘The Meeting Point’ in Swanley town centre – a new and innovative ‘work hub’ alongside 17 new homes. This will be achieved through the redevelopment of a prominent site which is in Sevenoaks District Council ownership and which has been redundant for several years.
The Meeting Point at 27-37 High Street, Swanley will bring forward a new ‘work hub’ in Swanley town centre, alongside 17 new homes.
Specifically, The Meeting Point project will deliver:
- 17 residential units (12 one-bedroom; 5 two-bedroom) over the ground, first and second floors
- a 250 sq m (2,700 sq ft) work hub on the ground floor, intended to provide shared working space to support micro businesses and start-ups, as well as people working remotely and requiring collaboration space
- communal garden space supporting both the residential units and the work hub
- car parking (including electric vehicle charging) and bike store
The housing element of the scheme responds to the identified need for smaller units, especially for younger workers. The ‘work hub’ element will consist of 250 square metres of flexible space aimed at start-ups, home workers and people who might otherwise have had to commute for work. It will provide support for business collaboration, as well as access to facilities on a ‘gym’-style membership basis.
The scheme is a £5.3m project of which, £1.9m will be funded through the Getting Building Fund provided by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).
As well providing new uses on the site itself and directly delivering new homes and business opportunities, The Meeting Point will help to bring new activity and footfall to a part of the town centre currently dominated by a secondary, poor quality retail offer. It will bring forward the first of a series of sites in public ownership within Swanley town centre, contributing to a coordinated regeneration strategy for the town. It will also deliver significant environmental benefits, providing employment and housing in a sustainable town centre location, within a building constructed to high environmental standards.
The objectives of this scheme are to:
- deliver additional housing to meet demand in Swanley
- create new opportunities for business growth
- catalyse the future regeneration of Swanley Town Centre
- create 183 new jobs
- unlock 34 homes
- unlock 250 square metres of commercial floorspace and assist 58 businesses
- improve 220 square metres of public realm and green space.
Introduced new super/ultrafast broadband connections to 60 premises
The decision by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership Accountability Board to grant Getting Building Funding for the Meeting Point scheme was made on 20 November 2020.
In June 2020, Local Enterprise Partnerships were invited to put forward projects for the Getting Building Fund. Specifically, Government were looking for shovel-ready capital projects which can be delivered within 18 months.
Nationally, the size of the Getting Building Fund pot totals £900 million.
The overarching objectives of the fund are to drive economic growth, create new jobs and support green recovery. This includes funding to enable:
- town and city centre modernisation through targeted infrastructure investments unleashing their longer-term economic potential
- investment in physical connectivity to improve the functioning of the local economy
- investment in innovation ecosystem including through improvements to research and development facilities driving up business productivity
- improvements to human capital
- improving digital connectivity, in order to support economic performance, particularly in more isolated areas.
SELEP has been successfully allocated £85 million Getting Building Fund. This funding must be spent by 31 March 2022.
The government Growth Deal provides money to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, funding projects which drive Kent’s economic and business growth.