A very bad year for our town’s her­itage

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? -

To­day, those of us who are pas­sion­ate about sav­ing the town’s her­itage are of­ten fiercely de­ter­mined in our ef­forts to re­tain long­stand­ing com­po­nent build­ings, that fea­ture in the cru­cial make-up of Ash­ford.

The cam­paigner in us steps up a gear and we do ev­ery­thing we pos­si­bly can to save build­ings in and around the town that have stood for gen­er­a­tions. With the for­mer col­lege at the cor­ner of El­wick Road (af­fec­tion­ately known lo­cally as the ‘Tech’) now a pile of rub­ble, another cru­sade to save old Ash­ford waits in the wings!

Of­ten when a devel­oper buys land that fea­tures such build­ings or build­ings are com­pul­so­rily pur­chased, the devel­oper is of­ten un­aware and typ­i­cally dis­in­ter­ested what the pres­ence of that build­ing means to the town or an in­di­vid­ual, in the case where it may be their for­mer home as an ex­am­ple.

The world of plan­ning has so many ob­sta­cles and the use of the word Ash­ford and plan­ning used in the same sen­tence en­tices mem­o­ries of many dark days in the town’s history, when seem­ingly no mat­ter how you tried, noth­ing worth sav­ing could be saved.

While still a minefield, ne­go­ti­at­ing the plan­ning frame­work is a lit­tle eas­ier in many re­spects and some say that the ‘re­al­i­sa­tion’ of her­itage as­sets, sadly ab­sent be­fore, is some­thing of a ‘con­sid­er­a­tion’ to­day.

For rel­a­tive new­com­ers to the town and the younger gen­er­a­tion, Ash­ford may seem com­plete. It may have a few key sites to be re­de­vel­oped, but this is noth­ing com­pared to what the town suf­fered and en­dured 43 years ago.

This week’s Re­mem­ber When of­fers a trio of pic­tures show­ing the town be­ing pulled apart at the hands of bad de­ci­sion mak­ers

Do you have any pho­to­graphs or slides that you would be will­ing to loan me, to en­able them to be scanned and fea­tured in the Ken­tish Ex­press? If so please write to me: Steve Sal­ter, Ken­tish Ex­press Re­mem­ber When, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR; email me at re­mem­ber­when_k­mash@ hot­mail.co.uk or fol­low me on Twit­ter @SteveKMAsh­ford.

Or you can also leave a tele­phone mes­sage for me with brief de­tails by call­ing 01233 623232.

Hemp­sted Street at its junction with Tufton Street and Re­gents Place, 1972. Con­crete foot­ings and drainage pipes sit along­side one of the few re­main­ing build­ings left on the up­per sec­tion of Hemp­sted Street which is now to­tally con­sumed by County Square. The for­mer and pop­u­lar hostelry, the Coach and Horses, at the cor­ner of the street can be seen here with at­tached dwellings shortly be­fore they dis­ap­peared for­ever. 1972 was not a great year for the town’s her­itage.

Forge Lane, 1972. Fur­ther along the Ring­way site, an orig­i­nal sec­tion of Forge Lane with its or­nate lamp posts is seen be­ing ripped apart. Still trad­ing to­day as Vaux­hall and Skoda deal­ers at the Or­bital Park, Caffyn’s Garage can be seen in one of their pre­vi­ous guises on the op­po­site side of the road.

Ed­in­burgh Road, 1972. Scores of beau­ti­ful bay win­dowed prop­er­ties were sac­ri­ficed by com­pul­sory pur­chase when it was de­cided to build a new Ring­way in the town. Many fam­i­lies were up­rooted and moved else­where. Some had lived in these ‘blighted’ ar­eas of the town for gen­er­a­tions.

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