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Maidstone regeneration – renovation of iconic 1930s house moves closer

A privately-owned property development company is aiming to take a step closer to bringing a well-known Maidstone landmark back into the community later this month, when the planning application for a £30 million renovation and redevelopment of the 1930s Grade-II listed Len House will be considered by Maidstone Borough Council.

The ambitious proposals put forward by Classicus Estates Limited are for a renovation and restoration project that will provide 3,612sqm of commercial space and 159 newly-built, high-quality homes at Len House, formerly known as the Rootes Building.

The application says it will bring Len House into its newest chapter, re-establishing and securing the building’s ‘long-term iconic standing and status within Maidstone town centre, whilst respecting its former motor engineering history’.

As part of the new development, a vibrant new square off Mill Street will be created, connecting public space to the adjacent riverside.

The scheme will also enable residents, locals and visitors to benefit from a newly landscaped environment, with a central communal area.

Meanwhile, a commercial ground floor is set to include a proposed food emporium and parking.

Furthermore, the plans include a two-story extension to the roof, while the original style Crittall windows and high interior spaces of the existing building will be retained.

To cater for the increased demand for climate-friendly schemes, a ‘green’ roof will incorporate solar panels and restoration of the River Len, including extensive ecological and biodiversity enhancement such as wildlife protection and works to minimise flood risk.

Matthew Brett-Chaponnel, the owner of Classicus Estates Limited, commented: “As we set out our plans for Len House, we first and foremost wanted to respect the heritage and setting of the site and immediate surrounding areas. Len House is an iconic modernist piece of architecture and our plans to redevelop will ensure its long-term sustainable future.”

He added: “The planning application aims to keep as much of the original property in place as possible, whilst enhancing and adding to the building with a new design and build which will complement Len House’s heritage, character and charm.”

“We want to redefine this area of Maidstone for the public’s benefit and use, by creating an exceptional space for working and urban living, including the enhancement of the public realm surrounding Palace Avenue, which will contribute to making Maidstone a vibrant and exciting place to live and work.”

Award-winning architects Hollaway have been contracted by Classicus Estates to make sure that this much-loved building is secured by protecting and absorbing the 1930s modernist features of the building into the design – ‘celebrating its past whilst redefining the town centre of Maidstone’.

You can see video and sketch footage from Guy Holloway elaborating on the project here.

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