Ashford Outlet expansion plans latest
An application to almost double the size of the Ashford Designer Outlet is expected to be discussed this month.
The ambitions plans, which were first unveiled in 2013, would see the popular shopping centre expand to come within 500 metres of Ashford’s town centre.
The multi-million pound proposal includes demolishing part of the existing mall, where the coach drop-off point and food court are, to make room for extra retail units, more restaurants and a visitor centre.
Other plans include extending north and south of the centre, reconfiguring the car park, improving the links between the shopping mall and the town and landscaping works.
If approved, the development will be delivered in two stages, with the initial phase adding 30 shops to the 80 already there.
The second part of the development would take place in the overflow car park (car park D) in Newtown Road, as well as on a small piece of land next to the car park.
In total, an extra 175,000 sq ft of retail space would be added to the existing 185,000 sq ft.
The expansion would create an estimated 2,000 jobs.
The application for the massive project was submitted by agents Montagu Evans LLP on behalf of the outlet’s owners, McArthurGlen, at the end of last year, although it is yet to be discussed by Ashford Borough Council’s planning committee.
However, according to a report from the July meeting of the Ash- ford Strategic Delivery Board, which was only revealed last week, the application should “go forward to the September planning committee with a recommendation for approval”.
The report states that the council has now received “the final set of amended plans for the Designer Outlet expansion”, which appear “to have resolved all of the issues identified with the previous set of plans”.
It adds that officers from Ash- ford’s planning team were in the “final stages” of agreeing on the terms for the section 106 agreement with the applicant, and that the package would include improving the bus and walking routes to and from the town centre.
The agenda for September’s planning meeting is yet to be published, but it is scheduled for September 23.
Above and inset, an artist’s impressions shows how the Ashford Designer Outlet could look