Town takes crown as top Kent place to do busi­ness

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - County Coup - By Chris Price

Ash­ford has been named the best place to do busi­ness in Kent, ac­cord­ing to a new study.

Ex­cel­lent road and rail links to Lon­don have helped the town wrest the crown from Maid­stone, which topped the poll the last time it was con­ducted in 2010.

Two thirds of those sur­veyed said they liked the town’s prox­im­ity to Europe and the cap­i­tal, along with its lo­ca­tion and avail­able sites.

The re­search was com­mis­sioned by Lo­cate in Kent, the agency which tries to en­cour­age busi­nesses to move to the county.

It in­volved in­ter­views with de­vel­op­ers, in­vestors, prop­erty agents, ar­chi­tects and other ad­vis­ers across the South East, both those who have and those who have not con­sid­ered re­lo­cat­ing to Kent.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil leader Cllr Gerry Clark­son said: “This study proves what we al­ready knew – that the ad­van­tages of lo­cat­ing your busi­ness in Ash­ford out­weigh any other town in Kent.

“It is great news and will help us in our ef­forts to drive eco­nomic growth, boost em­ploy­ment and gen­er­ate pros­per­ity for all our res­i­dents.

“We are not com­pla­cent about the size of the task fac­ing us in achiev­ing the eco­nomic growth we are all striv­ing for.

“We shall ex­am­ine the re­sults of the study very care­fully to see what we can learn and ap­ply these to con­tin­u­ally im­prov­ing the area as a place for busi­ness.”

Al­most three in five peo­ple said Ash­ford has im­proved as a busi­ness lo­ca­tion and the ma­jor­ity think it will con­tinue to im­prove.

The town has also just been in­cluded in KCC’s Ex­pan­sion East Kent scheme, of­fer­ing in­ter­est­free loans to busi­nesses look­ing to ex­pand and cre­ate jobs.

The mar­ket re­search was car­ried out by Ash­ford-based Facts In­ter­na­tional, a fi­nal­ist in this year’s Kent Ex­cel­lence in Busi­ness Awards, the KEiBAs.

Lo­cate in Kent mar­ket­ing and re­search direc­tor Mandy Bearne said: “This sur­vey gives us a good un­der­stand­ing of what peo­ple think about Kent and ar­eas of Kent as a busi­ness lo­ca­tion, so that we can fine-tune our mar­ket­ing ef­fort ac­cord­ingly.

“It is good to know that about 70% of re­spon­dents think Kent is a good place to do busi­ness, and that the ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents think both Kent and Ash­ford will be­come even bet­ter over the next five years.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

Busi­nesses are drawn to the Ash­ford De­signer Out­let

Those sur­veyed liked the town’s rail links with Lon­don and Europe

Coun­cil leader Cllr Gerry Clark­son says it’s great news

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