Makeover plan aims to at­tract more busi­nesses

Trees, art and paving to smarten up Com­mer­cial Quar­ter

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Fundraiser - By Sa­man­tha Wil­liams

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.

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

Coun­cil leader Cllr Gerry Clark­son

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