Reaping benefits of high-speed link
ON THE UP: Higher house values and more job opportunities
HOUSE prices in Ashford are predicted to rise by between £500 and £12,800 with the introduction of the new high speed rail service.
The high speed trains are due to come on track by the end of this year and will see journey times from Ashford to London reduced from 83 to 37 minutes.
A new report claims house prices in Ashford will rise at 7.5 per cent, more than anywhere else in east Kent.
When taking the whole of Kent into account, Ashford is second only to Ebbsfleet, where prices are predicted to rise by up to £30,200 or 14 per cent.
The report looks at the economic impact of High Speed 1, which includes the fast trains due to start in December and also the introduction of the St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel part of the Eurostar line, which opened in November 2007, improving links with Europe.
The report, undertaken by transport consultants Colin
Buchanan and economic consultants Volterra and commissioned by London and Continental railways, estimates the sharpest house price rises in Ashford will be in the area to the south of the town centre and around the station.
The news will come as welcome relief to homeowners concerned about falling house prices. And it is good news for jobs too.
The report states that the new service will not only encourage people to move from London to Kent but that people alreadyliving here in Ashford will find work in the capital, especially those with high-level qualifications.
As the more skilled workers move to jobs in London, lower skilled jobs will become available locally and the “trickle down effect” will increase earnings and decrease unemployment in Ashford.
The report predicts that more than 1,000 more people will commute between Ashford and the capital when the new trains are introduced.
Ashford is second only to Ebbsfleet in terms of the percentage increase of people who will commute to London with the introduction of the new trains - rising by 7 per cent, from 4.6 per cent of people to 11.6 per cent.
Ashford was the fastest growing town in the South East between 1981 and 2006, growing 28 per cent. But while the population increased by 18,000, only 7,500 extra jobs were created during that period.
Southeastern’s 395 high speed trains ready for action at Ashford