Area is in need of re­gen­er­a­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

ISN’T it about time Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil ap­plied its mind to the re­gen­er­a­tion of the Lower High Street? The street mar­ket is now suf­fer­ing from the same prob­lem. Over the years, the coun­cil has al­lowed es­tate agents to con­vert the shops in Mid­dle Row into glo­ri­fied offices. Due to the con­cen­tra­tion of th­ese busi­ness, shop­pers are not at­tracted to that area. For the av­er­age shop­per that is a dead area, and they are re­luc­tant to ven­ture fur­ther. It has be­come detri­men­tal to the Lower High Street traders. With the County Square de­vel­op­ment, the town has be­come lop­sided. May I sug­gest that the es­tate agents be per­suaded to va­cate their premises and re­lo­cate to the pur­pose-built Char­ter House offices. With the pop­u­la­tion in­creas­ing the smaller re­tail­ers will be needed to pro­vide a greater va­ri­ety of goods and ser­vices. With fi­nance from out­side in­ter­ests be­ing spent on El­wick Road, the High Street is now the poor re­la­tion. Also, the coun­cil of­fi­cers should in­ves­ti­gate the pos­si­bil­ity of mak­ing an old ser­vice al­ley run­ning from the High Street to Park Street, avail­able for pub­lic ac­cess. This would be use­ful to coun­try bus pas­sen­gers. They used the Co-op be­fore it closed. Again the KCC are set on spending mil­lions to re­build the pub­lic li­brary. Would it also be ad­van­ta­geous to trans­fer the li­brary and the Gate­way ser­vices to Char­ter House. There is bet­ter park­ing and room to ex­pand for lec­ture rooms and art gal­leries. R. Bur­ton, Willes­bor­ough.

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