KM Group to sell off headquarters for homes

Kent Messenger publisher the KM Group plans to redevelop in headquarters in a move that could see its current offices replaced by up to 55 new homes.

The company has partnered with housing developer Redwood on the redevelopment project at Larkfield, near Maidstone, which would see the existing building replaced with a new three-storey office and homes built on other parts of the 4.1 acre site.

The plan has been submitted to Tonbridge and Malling Council, and if successful KM Group staff will be relocated to other offices across the county including Medway, Maidstone and Whitstable, during the construction work.

They are expected to return to the Larkfield site in summer 2013 if the plans are approved.

Group managing director Richard Elliot said the current HQ, where KM Group has been based since 1971, was no longer suitable for a modern media company.

‘The Larkfield building served us well when we were purely a newspaper publisher, but KM Group has evolved into a multimedia company and we need a headquarters that reflects our current needs,’he said.

The company owns a number of radio stations and websites in addition to its paid-for and free weekly newspapers, which include the Dartford Messenger and Kentish Express.

In a statement the company said large parts of the current site had been left vacant since the KM Group restructured its business, including outsourcing printing to Trinity Mirror,

In a statement the company said: ‘Under the proposals, Redrow will oversee the construction of the new homes, while developers George Wilson and Mark Quinn will be the KM Group’s partners for the construction of the new headquarters, having previously worked with the publisher on the construction of its office in Whitstable.”

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