Ar­ti­fi­cial ex­pan­sion will not ben­e­fit us

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

THE rapid growth of Ash­ford’s pop­u­la­tion is hailed as a boom, but will it re­ally ben­e­fit the ex­ist­ing res­i­dents? The growth has not been be­cause of a short­age of em­ploy­ees to fill thriv­ing busi­nesses but be­cause more land has been al­lo­cated for new dwellings than in other towns. The orig­i­nal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for ex­pand­ing Ash­ford was be­cause of huge de­mand for ex­tra work­ers, which is sim­ply not the case. Now we are told that the Ash­ford brand is be­ing sold in the area around the Lon­don ter­mi­nal sta­tions to en­cour­age peo­ple to move to Ash­ford then com­mute back. Hardly very en­vi­ron­men­tal and makes the Ash­ford econ­omy very de­pen­dent on Lon­don’s fu­ture prospects. Im­posed town ex­pan­sion is not new. It has been tried in pre­vi­ous decades and has usu­ally led to se­ri­ous eco­nomic and so­cial prob­lems. We know what fol­lows a boom. If, as is prob­a­ble the Ash­ford econ­omy can­not keep up with the pop­u­la­tion growth, the slo­gan will be­come ‘Bust place in Bri­tain’. With the prospect of a lengthy re­ces­sion, Ash­ford coun­cil should se­ri­ously con­sider if this ar­ti­fi­cial ex­pan­sion is pru­dent. J. Secker, Smeeth.

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