PLANS to redevelop the Tunbridge Wells Arriva Bus depot on St John’s Road into three residential blocks were given the green light last week.

The new buildings will be built on behalf of assisted care provider Pegasus Life, and will house 89 units to provide accommodation for older people and staff. Its maximum height will be five floors, 18 metres high.

Around 66 parking places will be provided.

Original plans were showcased a year ago and have been subject to some amendments and consultation.

Development has not been able to get underway sooner as bus operator Arriva secured a 12 month lease back of the site upon sale. The company recently secured a new depot on Kingstanding way.

Various concerns have been raised by the owners of neighbouring properties concerning the scale of the buildings, the loss of light, parking, noise and loss of privacy.

The Tunbridge Wells Civic Society criticised the development, stating the ‘over-large scheme’, which is ‘entirely out of scale’ and would offer ‘cramped’ accommodation.

“While some loss of traditional fabric would be acceptable for a better considered scheme, it is unnecessary and regrettable in the present case,” they added.

However, many also expressed a desire to see the bus depot demolished and replaced, with neighbour Christopher Thomas stating: “The sooner the polluting bus depot with its diesel belching dirty vehicles goes the better… anything is better than what we currently have.”

Planning officers recommended the development’s approval at the meeting of the planning committee on September 20.

The development’s go-ahead is conditional on Pegasus Life paying £70,000 in developer contributions. The money is earmarked for the Tunbridge Wells Cultural Hub, the Saint John’s Road cycle strategy, Woodbury Park recreation grounds and parking along Woodbury Park.