Reap­ing ben­e­fits of high-speed link

ON THE UP: Higher house val­ues and more job op­por­tu­ni­ties

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - London Marathon - by Sarah Mar­shall smar­shall@thek­m­

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

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