Restau­rants…wel­come to boom town

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Transforming Ashford -

sur­round­ing area”.

Twenty-one new homes will be cre­ated on the first, se­cond and third floors.

The plan­ning com­mit­tee is ex­pected to make a de­ci­sion in March. Work con­tin­ues to cre­ate a new £16 mil­lion mod­ern cam­pus, to be called Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional Col­lege, on the cor­ner of Sta­tion Road and El­wick Road.

Con­trac­tors from Bam Con­struc­tion are work­ing on the site, fol­low­ing the de­mo­li­tion of Kent Care House and Swan­ton House.

The new col­lege will cater for more than 700 stu­dents learn­ing skills in the man­u­fac­tur­ing, con­struc­tion and ser­vice sec­tors, and will in­clude a teach­ing block, din­ing hall, lab­o­ra­to­ries, a hair and beauty sa­lon, and an art and me­dia stu­dio.

Once com­plete, it will be run by Had­low Col­lege Group, which also runs Had­low Col­lege and West Kent Col­lege.

It is hoped stu­dents and staff will move into the build­ing in 2017.

The cur­rent col­lege, in Jem­mett Road, South Ash­ford, is then ex­pected to be de­mol­ished and re­placed with hous­ing. Hun­dreds of new jobs are ex­pected to be cre­ated when Ash­ford’s new com­mer­cial quar­ter is com­plete.

It is hoped the busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, ear­marked for land in Dover Place and Sta­tion Road, will en­sure fu­ture eco­nomic growth.

To kick-start the de­vel­op­ment, Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil pur­chased In­ter­na­tional House in 2014, and work has al­ready started to im­prove the land sur­round­ing it, in­clud­ing the Dover Place car park.

Last month, de­vel­oper Quinn Es­tates, in part­ner­ship with Ge­orge Wil­son Hold­ings, re­vealed plans for a new five­floor of­fice block, along Sta­tion Road be­tween the Plat­form 5 bar and Everest Inn restau­rant.

As well as pro­vid­ing a base for new busi­ness, the ground floor of the square build­ing will pro­vide space for retail or a new food out­let.

When com­plete, the land sur­round­ing the com­mer­cial quar­ter will be trans­formed into a pub­lic area, and will in­clude new trees, paving, light­ing, steps and art­work. Around 150 homes are also pro­posed.

The pro­pos­als for the of­fice block are sub­ject to a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion, which is ex­pected in the next few weeks. A new brew­ery and vis­i­tor cen­tre is pro­posed for an empty 1.7 acre site on the north side of Vic­to­ria Way, on the cor­ner clos­est to the rail­way sta­tion.

It is be­ing pro­posed by wine­maker Chapel Down, based in Ten­ter­den, which last year launched a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign to raise money for the new fac­tory.

With the £1 mil­lion tar­get reached, it is an­tic­i­pated that a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the scheme will come this year.

Chapel Down chief ex­ec­u­tive Frazer Thomp­son said last year: “We have found a sen­sa­tional site in Ash­ford for the new Cu­ri­ous Brew­ery.

“We want the world to see us and this site – just 38 min­utes from St Pan­cras and less than two hours away from Paris by train.” Only last week, de­vel­oper U+I re­vealed plans for the site on the cor­ner of Vic­to­ria Way, cush­ioned be­tween Beaver Road and Ge­orge Street, fac­ing the pro­posed new brew­ery.

The scheme in­cludes plans for 200 homes, a 120-bed ho­tel and an Aldi food store.

The land is owned by the Homes and Com­mu­ni­ties Agency (HCA), but U+I says it has ex­changed con­tracts with the HCA sub­ject to plan­ning per­mis­sion to ac­quire the site.

It is not the first time the empty land, which sits be­tween Watling Tyres and the petrol sta­tion, has been ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment.

In Novem­ber 2013, Mor­risons re­vealed it was plan­ning to open a new store there.

How­ever, de­spite hold­ing a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and re­ceiv­ing pos­i­tive feed­back, six months later the chain scrapped its plans. An ex­tra 100,000sq ft, 38 new shops and six restau­rants and cafes will be added to the Ash­ford De­signer Out­let when it is ex­panded.

The multi-mil­lion pound plans were given the green­light in Septem­ber 2015 and work is ex­pected to start within weeks.

It will see the pop­u­lar shop­ping cen­tre al­most dou­ble in size, fill­ing part of the ex­ist­ing car park and the coach drop-off point.

The chil­dren’s play area will be re­lo­cated, an ex­tra 700 car spa­ces will be cre­ated south of the ex­ist­ing out­let and a vis­i­tor cen­tre built.

About 500 jobs are set to be cre­ated.

To pre­vent tak­ing cus­tom away from Ash­ford town cen­tre, coun­cil plan­ners have placed re­stric­tions on which shops and restau­rants can move into the cen­tre.

Ap­proved shops in­clude Gucci, Dior, Bar­bour, Coast, Hol­lis­ter and White Stuff, while banned restau­rants in­clude Wether­spoon’s, Prezzo, Cafe Rouge, TGI Fri­days and Nando’s.

The ex­pan­sion is then set to open in 2018.

There are also plans for an­other ex­ten­sion, in the over­flow car park in New­town Road, as well as on a small piece of land next to the car park.

It is not known when an ap­pli­ca­tion for this part of the de­vel­op­ment will be sub­mit­ted.

FM3043350

In­ter­na­tional House was bought by the coun­cil to kick­start the new com­mer­cial quar­ter

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