10-year plan to trans­form town

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

INVIT­ING, con­nected, ful­fill­ing and pros­per­ous, this is what Ash­ford will be within the next eight years ac­cord­ing to its coun­cil. The au­thor­ity’s top brass has ap­proved a plan of action to trans­form the town by 2018. It had pre­vi­ously gone out to pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber. It found that not enough Ash­ford res­i­dents could spell and do ba­sic math­e­mat­ics and those that could of­ten left the area for Lon­don to look for bet­ter jobs. To im­prove res­i­dents’ prospects Ash­ford coun­cil, along with a num­ber of part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing Ash­ford’s Fu­ture, have cre­ated a plan of action to ad­dress the prob­lem. The au­thor­ity also hopes to keep more youngsters in the area to con­tinue with their fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion and ap­pren­tice­ships. Cur­rently just one in 10 of Ash­ford res­i­dents is aged be­tween 20 and 30 years old which, ABC say, is be­cause they are go­ing to other ar­eas to con­tinue ed­u­ca­tion or get bet­ter jobs. To get tourists stay­ing in the town and the sur­round­ing ar­eas there are plans for new ho­tels as well as hik­ing up the amount of sport and leisure fa­cil­i­ties on of­fer. This could in­clude adapt­ing the Julie Rose sta­dium to hold live mu­sic acts. In the last vis­i­tor sur­vey it was found that Ash­ford at­tracted 370,000 overnight vis­i­tors and about 3.3 mil­lion day trip­pers. Also agreed were a set of new buzz words that will be plas­tered on pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial for the town. To be­gin with Ash­ford will be the “Smart Choice” be­fore be­ing re­branded as the ‘Pow­er­house of Kent’. It could also be the “Gate­way to East Kent” and “Des­ti­na­tion Ash­ford”. Be­fore the plan is fully adopted it will need to be ap­proved by full coun­cil.

To view the plan visit www.ash­ford.gov.uk

The Simp­sons from Spring­field ... CGI pro­motes the real town of Spring­field, as well as Alaska, Beth­le­hem and now Ash­ford

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