Work starts on new Kent treasure

Housing 21 is working in partnership with Kent County Council, Bouygues Development and West Kent Housing Association to build a Library and History Centre. The £12million project in Maidstone will also provide 60 extra care apartments for older people.

Kent has a wealth of documents, photographs, images, maps and records about the history of the county, but to make sure they survive they need to be kept in carefully controlled conditions. The new centre will be purpose built to protect and display many more archives than are currently available. It will house around 14 kilometres of historic material relating to Kent and dating back to 699 AD. There will also be a community history area, archive search room, digital studio and a large space for displays and events.

Visitors to the centre will be able to enjoy improved library and IT services, Wifi access and well-equipped meeting rooms. The whole site will be landscaped and will include a reading garden to hold local events and give visitors a relaxing place to enjoy a good book or just meet and chat.

Housing 21 Chief Executive, Pushpa Raguvaran, said: "This exciting project fits well with Housing 21's ethos of giving older people independence and choice, and we believe it's important that they play an active role in the local community. The 60 extra care apartments will provide a unique living space alongside the Library and History Centre, allowing residents to enjoy excellent facilities as well as being part of an outstanding community development."For further information contact Kate Nowowiecki at Kent County Council Media Centre on 01622 694932 or e-mail