Charter House plan waits for an upturn
CHARTER House is about to enter 2010 with an uncertain future.
Plans to convert the iconic Ashford building stalled because of the recession and now its owners are marking time by offering short-term office space and cheap parking.
Throughout this autumn and winter huge banner signs have been put up saying “cheap offices to let.”
An earlier sign had also said: “cheapest town centre parking” offering a rate of £35 a month.
Developers Dukelease Properties had in November 2008 secured planning permission from Ashford Borough Council to create 334 flats on the site.
It had hoped to start the conversion last June but the plan was put off until autumn 2009 because of the state of the property market.
The company said it did not want to comment on the current situation but told the Kent- ish Express last May that there was a lack of credit available and a problem in selling flats.
Chief executive Richard Leslie said people could not get a mortgage, were not confident about getting a good deal and were worried about their jobs.
The company hopes the situation will improve following the introduction of the full highspeed rail service from Ashford to St Pancras.
It is banking on Charter House being used for short-term office space in the meantime.
Charter House, which has yet to be converted