Clo­sures can’t dress up our town’s de­cline

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? The Kentish Express Memories Page W -

Con­cerns are grow­ing among lo­cals this week as an­other two town traders bite the dust, leav­ing both cen­tral and prime com­mer­cial premises empty and deny­ing res­i­dents two in­valu­able long­stand­ing chains, namely Bur­ton’s Menswear, which has cho­sen not to re­new its lease (but is still trad­ing in other towns), and BHS Bri­tish Home Stores, a na­tional chain that has been in ad­min­is­tra­tion since April.

In the last week, it has been an­nounced that stores will now close as ad­min­is­tra­tors have failed to find a buyer.

We are un­sure of the opin­ions of those who run this town, but as a res­i­dent both born and bred in Ash­ford I am ex­tremely con­cerned that lit­tle seems to have been done to en­cour­age traders to stay and en­tice oth­ers in.

McArthur Glen is do­ing ex­tremely well with its ten­ant base of multi­na­tional traders, but the heart of Ash­ford has be­come very much like a ghost town.

The busi­ness rates for Ash­ford are some of the high­est in the South East and I know of many a trader both chain and in­de­pen­dent that has barely lasted a year.

There is a con­tin­ual pat­tern of traders com­ing and go­ing in such a short space of time – surely the alarm bells have been ring­ing to the au­thor­i­ties by now.

In the case of Bur­ton’s, the long­stand­ing tai­lor and menswear shop, it is not the only chain tai­lor to de­part the high street over the years.

This week, Re­mem­ber When looks at a trio of images de­pict­ing our losses in all things at­tire.

Have you any pho­to­graphs or slides that you would be will­ing to loan me, to en­able them to be scanned for pos­si­ble fea­ture in the Ken­tish Ex­press?

Please don’t de­lay, get in touch!

Write to me: Steve Sal­ter, Ken­tish Ex­press Re­mem­ber When, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, Kent TN24 8JR.

E-mail me: re­mem­ber­when_ kmash@hot­

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ SteveKMAsh­ford.

Or you can leave a tele­phone mes­sage for me with brief de­tails by call­ing 01233 623232.

Up­per High Street, 1960. A splen­did view show­ing the Ash­ford branch of Bur­ton Tailor­ing (pre­vi­ously known as Mon­tague Bur­ton), pic­tured at the start of the swing­ing six­ties. Af­ter 84 years of trade in the town, cur­rent owner Ar­ca­dia Group has cho­sen not to re­new the lease on the build­ing. The branch will close on June 16.

Bank Street junc­tion with Up­per High Street, 1962. Hep­worths graced the town for many years at this prime cor­ner plot on the High Street. Lo­cated di­rectly op­po­site Bur­ton’s, the com­pany founded in 1864 was con­sumed by the Next cloth­ing chain in the early 1980s and this branch closed.

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