Can we spy green shoots of recovery?
The past 12 months have seen big changes for the Ashford area, with even more on the horizon. It was a slightly depressing start to the year. News that Blockbuster, HMV, Jessops, Pizza Hut and Letraset were all closing their doors in Ashford made grim reading at the time. It would have been easy to become despondent, as the outlook for businesses and residents seemed bleak. But as we enter a new year, the picture certainly appears brighter. 2013 saw the much anticipated arrival of John Lewis at Home, which seems to pull in shoppers from far and wide. The redevelopment of Sevington, while controversial locally, as well as planned takeovers of vacant units should also boost the town’s economic landscape. Much has also been made of the Big Six projects, so dubbed by the council, as a well as a new town centre cinema, announced last week. Already underway is The Panorama conversion of Charter House, which should be completed in the coming year. Scores of new homes are also planned for sites across the town. Some will come as part of the early stages of the Commercial Quarter project near the railway station, while the railway works in Newtown will also be redeveloped. Add to this a new Morrisons supermarket and perhaps we may be seeing the ‘green shoots of recovery’ just starting to appear. Only time will now tell how far these shoots will spread.