Blue Circle in joint venture to develop Kent land

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The Independent Online
Blue Circle Industries is forming a joint venture to develop its surplus land holdings, in particular the cement company's 2,250 acres in north-west Kent, where it has already submitted a planning application to develop 175 acres in the Ebbsfleet valley.

The venture is with Lend Lease and will be called Whitecliff. It will have a six-member board.

The total north-west Kent project envisages up to 5.3 million square feet of commercial development and 3,200 new houses around the proposed international and domestic passenger station to be built on the Channel Tunnel rail link at Ebbsfleet.

The north-west Kent area also includes the 1.6 million square feet Bluewater retail and leisure centre, in which Blue Circle and Lend Lease are already in partnership, and Blue Circle's 3 million square feet, mixed-use Business Park at Crossways.

Blue Circle hopes that outline planning permission for the development at Ebbsfleet will be granted in mid-1997, facilitating the first phase of commercial development to be ready for occupation in 2003, to coincide with the opening of the station.

At the outset, Stuart Hornery, chairman of Lend Lease, will be chairman of Whitecliff and Keith Orrell-Jones, chief executive of Blue Circle, will be deputy chairman. Tony Kemp, Blue Circle's property director, will be the chief executive and John McCready, a director of Blue Circle Properties, will be chief operating officer.

Blue Circle said its group lands division will not be affected by the creation of the joint venture.