New-look mall pulling in the punters
More people have visited Ashford’s Park Mall shopping centre since it was taken over by the council.
Footfall figures show that there was a 6.8% increase in January compared to last year.
In addition, Wilkos says an extra 500 customers are passing through its tills each week.
To highlight the improvements made to the arcade, Ashford MP Damian Green met with Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for town centres, Cllr Graham Galpin, and its regeneration manager Jo Wynn-Carter at the mall on Friday.
He was given a tour of the centre, and met with the new traders.
Mr Green said: “It’s really heartening that you can begin to feel the lifeblood coursing through Park Mall again.
“It went downhill for a number of years, but it’s now on the road back, and you can see it.
“There are more people here, more shops opening.”
Mr Green described the recently opened Made in Ashford boutique as “fantastic” and said “it gives a brand and identify to the local area”.
He added: “It’s early days, but it is encouraging.”
The work to revitalise the ailing Park Mall precinct started in 2015 when it was purchased by the council.
Since then it has improved the look and feel of the centre – the clock has been fixed, benches painted, hanging baskets installed and music now plays.
A number of independent shops have also opened, such as Emporia Fabric and Craft, Happy and Glorious, GlamR-Us, PJ Produce and the 10 start-ups who occupy Made in Ashford.
Creative company Recursive Media has also moved from Brighton to a unit within Park Mall, and several traders have approached the council about renewing their leases, including Blossom Hair and Games Workshop.
Cllr Galpin said: “We are delighted with the interest in Park Mall and the positive effect that our actions have had on the centre as a whole.
“The number of inquiries we have received about the empty units illustrates the confidence that exists in the viability of the new Park Mall.”
In addition, one-to-one social media support sessions are being offered by the Love Ashford team to new business owners.
They will be held at 23 Park Mall, Monday to Thursday, from 2pm-4pm.
You can either drop in or book an appointment by calling 01233 330216. For more information go to LoveAshford.com
MP Damian Green with, from left, Melissa Dawkins (Aye Aye Indigo), Graham Galpin, Jo Wynn-Carter (council regeneration manager), Leigha Windsor-Medley (Mini Medley) and Judith Tosland (Ju Ju Art)
Kate Jarvis at PJ Produce
Kate Tomsett, of Happy and Glorious