Shops and homes to re­place precinct

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - JUNCTION 10 - by Mike Ben­nett

THE shop­ping precinct in Brook­field Court is to be de­mol­ished and re­placed by new shops and af­ford­able homes.

Ash­ford bor­ough coun­cil­lors have given the go-ahead for the re­de­vel­op­ment of the late 1960s site in South Ash­ford, which has seven shops with maisonettes.

It is be­ing sold by the coun­cil to so­cial land­lord Down­land/ Affin­ity, which pro­poses build­ing four or five larger shops and up to two dozen af­ford­able homes.

Mem­bers of the coun­cil ex­ec­u­tive were told that at the end of 2004, the Co-op opened a su­per­mar­ket in the for­mer burnt out com­mu­nity cen­tre and the ad­ja­cent fill­ing sta­tion and shop were re­fur­bished.

Both were wel­comed but de­spite th­ese im­prove­ments, ward mem­bers have been con­cerned about the tired and run­down ap­pear­ance of the area.

Cllr Jill Hutchin­son called for bal­conies on any pro­posed flats on the site, as they would pro­vide more space for res­i­dents and colour to the area.

Two of the shops are empty. The oth­ers are a fish and chip take­away, hair­dresser, phar­macy, ke­bab shop and newsagent.

Ten­ants have been ad­vised that the coun­cil will not re­new leases when they ex­pire in 2008.

Se­nior coun­cil prop­erty sur­veyor Ian Barnes said: “The coun­cil will shortly be in dis­cus­sions with ex­ist­ing ten­ants about the pos­si­bil­ity of tak­ing new shop leases in the re­de­vel­oped scheme.

“The re­tail pro­vi­sion will be re­duced while the re­de­vel­op­ment takes place.”

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