Just the kind of de­sign we need

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

I’M DIS­AP­POINTED by the rather mean-spir­ited re­sponses to Ash­ford’s new street lamps in the shared-space de­vel­op­ment. This in­ter­est­ing and re­fresh­ingly in­ven­tive project is one oc­ca­sion on which Ash­ford’s coun­cil and the de­sign team ought to be ap­plauded for mak­ing a gen­uinely rad­i­cal de­ci­sion about town plan­ning. It is non­sense to say that Ash­ford’s “his­toric ar­chi­tec­ture” is com­pro­mised by the new de­vel­op­ment. Ash­ford is a town largely de­void of any in­ter­est­ing ar­chi­tec­ture. Noth­ing par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive has been built here since 1850. At last we have some in­no­va­tive de­sign in the town and (pre­dictably) a vast cho­rus of whin­ing erupts in the pages of the Ken­tish Ex­press. It’s enough to make any­one want to live else­where. Imag­ine Lon­don with no Mil­len­nium Bridge, no Tate Mod­ern, no Gherkin, no Lon­don Eye, no Na­tional Gallery, no St Pan­cras Sta­tion and no St Paul’s Cathe­dral! Th­ese were all in­no­va­tive and costly de­signs when they were built but most of us are glad they hap­pened. What a dreary place our cap­i­tal city would be without them. Un­for­tu­nately Ash­ford is a dreary place, or was un­til the new de­vel­op­ment hinted at its po­ten­tial to be a more ex­cit­ing town. How sad to greet new in­no­va­tion with a tidal wave of moan­ing! Matthew King, Ken­ning­ton.

IN THE 1970s, in­vest­ment in Ash­ford was quick, cheap and made of con­crete. The Gov­ern­ment has told Ash­ford to ex­pand again but this time the coun­cil is try­ing to do it dif­fer­ently. A few years ago, Ash­ford’s Fu­ture Team had a vi­sion that Ash­ford could be beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing with good de­sign. They ap­plied for fund­ing from home and abroad and got it! Towns from all over Europe ap­plied for money that was to be specif­i­cally al­lo­cated. We wouldn’t have got it for bog stan­dard lam­posts. Ash­ford isn’t used to any­one car­ing, it usu­ally has to com­pete with Maid­stone and

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