No surprises in store…unless you drive
For many Ashford residents the number one on their wish list would be for Primark to open a shop in the town, closely followed by the desire to see IKEA build a furniture store here.
But, while not wishing to disappoint, sadly it’s looking very much as though neither dream is likely to come true, certainly not in the foreseeable future.
Whenever we run a story about what could improve Ashford town centre people invariably say ‘give us a Primark’ or ‘let there be an IKEA’.
So, we thought we’d contact both companies about the likelihood of them opening up here.
Primark has 250 stores across the UK, Ireland and Europe – with Kent branches in Chatham, Dartford, Gravesend, Folkestone, Maidstone, Margate and Westwood Cross Thanet.
But sadly the firm tells us they have no plans to set up shop in Ashford so it looks like anyone seeking Primark merchandise is going to have to continue driving up or down the M20 to either Folkestone or Maidstone to stock up on bargain clothing and homeware.
Likewise with IKEA. The company told us: “We are considering Kent as a potential location for IKEA. However we have nothing to confirm at this point in time. Customers in this area can continue to purchase IKEA products online at www.ikea.co.uk.”
Alternatively, IKEA fans can drive through the Dartford Tunnel to Lakeside or head to Croydon – the nearest stores to Ashford – to pick up their flat-packs.
The economy may be showing signs of recovery but for many of us there’s still a whiff of austerity in the air.
So we were a little surprised to hear that five double recharging points for electric cars are being created in Ashford borough – three in Ashford itself and two more in Tenterden.
They are among 43 being installed across the county, even though there are currently only about 50 electric cars in the whole of Kent! So, in other words there will be almost one electric recharging point for every electric car in Kent.
No queues at the plug-in points then.
Announcing the provision for Ashford borough at a recent Cabinet meeting, Cllr Bernard Heyes, ABC portfolio holder for transportation, highways and engineering, said: “Although there are currently only a small number of owners of electric vehicles in the county, statistics suggest this will increase over the coming years so it is important for us to provide the necessary infrastructure to run, and recharge, the vehicles.”
The money to install the chargers – about £237,000 for the lot – is being provided in grant form to Kent County Council from the Department for Transport, which is keen to increase the take-up of electric cars.
Electric car owners will obviously have to pay to use one of the chargers and there’s an option to decommission the charging points if they are not popular or financially viable ... how reassuring.
As we’re talking about electricity there’s only one word to describe this crackpot, money-wasting scheme – SHOCKING!