Dis­may at fail­ure to let empty High Street shops

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Night Lights - By Ai­dan Bar­low

A se­nior coun­cil­lor says he is still frus­trated by the sight of an empty shop and res­tau­rant greet­ing visi­tors to the Lower High Street.

The for­mer Pizza Hut res­tau­rant site has been empty since the be­gin­ning of 2013, while the dis­count shop Mul­ti­save across the street closed in July last year.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for town cen­tre busi­ness, Cllr Graham Galpin, says it has been tough to im­prove the area.

He said: “It’s frus­trat­ing for the town cen­tre as I would like to see it flour­ish, but these two sites are not part of our coun­cil port­fo­lio and we don’t con­trol what hap- pens there. We would dearly love new busi­nesses to be there, and we have looked at how we can help. We’ve tried all sorts of in­ter­est­ing ap­proaches to make it look bet­ter.

“For the mo­ment it is very frus­trat­ing. We have to have co-op­er­a­tion with the ten­ants and own­ers to take things for­ward.”

The for­mer Pizza Hut res­tau­rant is be­ing mar­keted by SW & P char­tered sur­vey­ors for an an­nual rent of £50,000 per year.

The site boasts 4,700 sq ft of space on the ground floor and in the base­ment and two large stor­age ar­eas.

Mean­while, the for­mer Mul­ti­save shop is listed with Cradick Re­tail for an an­nual rent of £60,000.

Cradick says it has re­ceived in­ter­est from sev­eral par­ties in­ter­ested in the site, but no de­tails have yet emerged about busi­nesses which could open there.

The site of­fers nearly 6,000 sq ft of re­tail space, which in­cludes the large ground floor space, rear stor­age room and a yard at the back with six car park­ing spa­ces.

Last week the Ex­press re­vealed the coun­cil’s ef­forts to spruce up the en­trance at the op­po­site end of the town cen­tre, as a let­ter was sent to the own­ers of the Prince Al­bert pub warn­ing them to take ac­tion.

It was also re­vealed that the for­mer Mem­phis Bar in Ap­s­ley Street could be set to re­open as a new Nepalese res­tau­rant.

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

The dis­used Mul­ti­save shop build­ing in Ash­ford’s Lower High Street would have a rent of £60,000 a year

Cllr Graham Galpin wants to see the High Street im­proved

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