Makeover plan aims to attract more businesses
Trees, art and paving to smarten up Commercial Quarter
Planning permission has been granted to improve the look of the area destined to become Ashford’s Commercial Quarter.
Councillors at last week’s planning committee gave the go-ahead to transform the land between Dover Place and Station Road.
Ashford Borough Council has set aside the area, along with International House, for the town’s new business development, called the Commercial Quarter.
Nearly £1.5 million has been earmarked for the project.
Members of the committee agreed to kick start the first phase of the scheme, which includes introducing trees, paving, lighting, steps and ramps and artwork.
Sites to be improved include Dover Place and part of the existing car park, as well as the forecourt between International House and part of the forecourt at the International Station.
It is hoped that by improving the landscape, developers and businesses will be encouraged to invest in the area.
The proposal was submitted by developers BDP on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) who will invest £1.45 million on the project.
Leader of Ashford Borough Council Gerry Clarkson (Con) said: “This is an important scheme for us. It will unlock the commercial quarter.
“This ties in with frontage of International House and will allow for a better approach to the town centre. This is a scheme that is very merited.”
The commercial quarter is one of the council’s ‘big eight’ projects planned for the town which they hope will ensure future economic growth.
When complete, the 50,000 square metres of office space promises to provide 3,300 jobs.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the plans, and work on the project is expected to start later this year.
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Council leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson