New development would bring supermarket, offices and jobs
Hundreds of new jobs could be created in Ashford if plans for a new office block – with a supermarket on the ground floor – are approved.
Artist impressions of the proposed five-floored building have been unveiled by developers Quinn Estates.
Working with George Wilson Holdings, they plan is to construct it along Station Road, cushioned between the Platform 5 bar and Everest Inn restaurant.
The new build will be part of the emerging commercial quarter – the town’s new business development designed to ensure future economic growth and spread over 590,000 sq ft.
While office space will fill the upper floors, the ground floor has been earmarked for retail space or a new food outlet.
Dan Marsden, from Quinn Estates, based in Canterbury, said the location is attractive due to the “proximity to the station” and the Ashford Designer Outlet, which is set to almost double in size this year.
He said: “Close proximity to McArthurGlen and the Interna- tional train station make this a fantastic location for local and international businesses to base themselves.
“Nearby McArthurGlen currently brings in more than three million visitors per year; with the new extension this is estimated to increase to circa seven million plus visitors per year.”
He added the driving force behind the project is to create more jobs, adding that the site would bring “major investment opportunities and create several thousand jobs”.
While it is not confirmed who might move into the building, Mr Marsden said: “We are talking to several people at the moment” and hinted the ground floor could be occupied by a new supermarket. He added that it is an “exciting” time for Ashford.
Work to create the commercial quarter in Ashford started last year following Ashford Borough Council’s purchase of International House. Improvements have already been made to the land between Dover Place and Station Road, including the car park in Dover Place.
When complete, the land surrounding International House – and the proposed new office block – will be transformed into a public area, and will include new trees, paving, lighting, steps and artwork. Around 150 homes are also proposed.
The council hope that by improving the landscape and look of the area, developers and businesses will be encouraged to invest.
The proposals for the office block are subject to a planning application, which is expected in the next few weeks. If approved, construction could start in late spring or early summer, with an estimated 18-month build.
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“Another half empty office block to hang ‘Office Space Available’ banners all over it.”
“Use what the town already have sitting there, empty & unused. A town with current buildings being used is better than having new ones popping up half used. Moan we have empty shops and other places yet won’t simply fill them but would build new building…”
Quinn Estates development manager, Dan Marsden, right, and an image of the proposed new office block planned for Ashford