Posted by: madkentdragon | August 16, 2011

New Housing in The Royal British Legion Village – too much?

RBLVillage proposed plans

There are proposals to build new residential dwellings in the Royal British Legion Village; as anyone who has read my blogs on local history will know this Village evolved as housing for ex-service from after WWI.

Originally the area was a farm as part of the Preston Hall Estate, and was used to help rehabilitate those who had been gassed, were injured, had TB or what was then called shell-shock and the farm was slowly replaced by handicraft workshops and other crafts and jobs that the residents
could do.

Although it came under the umbrella of the Royal British Legion; the Disabled Men’s Industries and the RBL Industries separated from the Legion in 1992 and the RBL Housing was passed to Housing 21. The Health Service came into being in 1948 and worked with the Legion to run Preston Hall hospital.

Over the years, the hospital was closed down and the main building and some of the outbuildings were bought for a nominal sum from RBLI
and now the health service want to sell it or put it to other use.

Because of the original agreement, both the health service and RBLI have come to an agreement to build “low cost housing” on the site instead of selling it – I believe there is a covenant on the deeds.

At the moment, there are plenty of green spaces in the village and a beautiful remembrance garden; the ex-service links to the housing are all but lost. I accept that some housing is necessary – but as you can see from the proposed map – they have rather over-egged the pudding here. The green areas left are a farm field which is fenced off for the Village and an old unused football field which is near a nursing home and the hospice!

With all these extra housing, there will be a few hundred extra cars – the entrances to the Village either lead out on to the A20 at one of its busiest parts, or on to Hall Road where you will join a mass of traffic either waiting for the crossing gates to open or join the traffic on the rat run that is Station Road onto the A20 further along.

Has a traffic survey been done? Also with family housing, what facilities will there be for bored children living in a tightly packed housing environment, with the temptation of a Sainsburys and other large shops to hang around – or perhaps they would prefer the take-aways in the shopping precinct of the housing estate opposite.

See the proposal and ask yourself, would you like to see this beautiful area built on so densely?

I do not live in the Village, but know the area and care to preserve the historic values of it all.

Here is a video of my son with his dogs around preston hall.



  1. I feel you are right to be concerned about this proposed development. It isn’t just issues like traffic and the erosion of the green belt. This will need a lot of work on the infrastructure even before the houses go up – sewage systems, utilities, not to mention things like broadband. Another thing to watch out for is phone masts to serve the new residents. These are going up everywhere almost unnoticed because planning notification tends to go out to a small number of addresses and residents may not be fully aware of the implications. We are fighting a 3G phone mast in our area. Are these homes going to remain low cost or will they be sold on to the highest bidder? This coild have a disastrous impact on those born and bred there if they are priced out of the area.

  2. I echo Albertina in will these remain low cost? We wanted to buy near to the village thirty years ago and it all fell throughbecause of price/mortgage etc. I doubt thing prices etc have changed.

    • I very much doubt it, but as there will be so very little green left in the Village, I for one would not like to move back in. I had originally hoped to, but not any longer

  3. Such a shame, it is the green spaces which allow a community to breathe. Instead developments steer towards tightly packed housing and car spaces. It seems to me that those who are in charge of (or designing) developments are often the worst people to do it.

  4. Not sure what the latest situation is regarding this proposed development but sounds rather like building on Central/Figure or Burton’s Court at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Just a thought, anyway.

  5. A little late I know but just wanted to add this.

    Gordon House at The Royal Hospital Chelsea up for sale via @Telegraph

    I found out recently has apparently sold for £65 million. The proceeds of which will be used to improve the living conditions of the pensioners. Interestingly they expected considerably more but the recent clampdown on the wealthy, such as the increase in stamp duty, deterred potential buyers.

    Talk about the law of unintended consequences.

  6. it has now been sold to Weston Homes who are already converting it into 13 apartments, it is boarded around, so no access. They are also building approx. 300 houses/flats on the ground to the right of preston hall, on the ward block site. Very sad, the national trust were not interested in buying preston hall

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