The Conningbrook Lakes Country Park open day was a success, with nearly 2,000 people of all ages attending. We had more than 1,000 people take part in the various activities. I was pleased to unveil a plaque recording that a Black Poplar tree had been planted in the country park to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.
The council has agreed to work with local developers, Quinn Estates Ltd and George Wilson Holdings Ltd, to bring forward the plans we have for the Ashford Commercial Quarter.
These are developers with a strong track record for delivering quality buildings on schedule.
The commercial quarter is a mixed use development in a key location opposite Ashford International Station. It will be the dynamic new main business hub, stimulating major investment opportunities and creating several hundred jobs in the town.
The council purchased International House last year, and work on a new public realm around International House and Dover Place is progressing well with completion due soon.
This will create a sense of place, forming an attractive first impression of the town and a delightful approach from Ashford International Station.
We warmly welcome Kent and Medway’s investment promotion agency, Locate in Kent, to Ashford. They have recently relocated to International House, and this follows Handlesbanken’s move in April. It would appear that Locate in Kent has acted on its own 2014 perception survey, which named Ashford as Kent’s No 1 business location.
By the time you read this article the planning committee will have considered the proposed expansion of the Designer Outlet Centre. In addition, plans for a new town centre cinema, hotel and restaurants at Elwick Place have been formally submitted.
These large-scale developments are part of our Big 8 priority projects, and emphasise the council’s ambition for the town, illustrating how we will unlock major opportunities and deliver new jobs, housing, retail and cultural facilities.
The message from this council to the business community is very clear - Ashford is going places.