Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

Ed­i­tor Robert Bar­man 01233 623232 rbar­man@thek­m­ News ed­i­tor Alastair Irvine 01233 623232 airvine@the km­ Sport ex­presss­port@thek­m­ Text: Text EX­PRESS fol­lowed by your mes­sage to 87474. Please in­clude your name and post­code. Mes­sages must not be more than 160 char­ac­ters and will be charged only at your stan­dard net­work rate. Please visit ken­ton­ for tex­ting terms. Ad­ver­tis­ing Tel 01233 623232 Fax 01233 626545 Ad­ver­tise­ment man­ager Sue Hunt­ley, 01233 895819, shunt­ley@thek­m­ Clas­si­fied ad­ver­tis­ing Tel 01233 623232. News­pa­per sales (in­clud­ing de­liv­ery, dis­tri­bu­tion, com­pe­ti­tions, reader of­fers and sub­scrip­tions): Of­fice hours, an­swer­phone there­after: 0800 525450 Head of­fice: Med­way House, Gins­bury Close, Thomas Lon­g­ley Road, Med­way, City Es­tate, Strood, Rochester ME2 4DU. Tel 01622 717880, Fax 01622 710937. Com­plaints: Any com­plaint about any as­pect of this news­pa­per should be made to the ed­i­tor, Robert Bar­man, 01233 623232 rbar­man@thek­m­ Cus­tomer Ser­vices (for ad­ver­tis­ing queries): email cus­tom­erser­vices@ thek­m­ 0800 0855810

Iknow that we will all have been shocked and sad­dened last week, by the tragic death of the Labour MP Jo Cox, and our thoughts must be with her fam­ily and friends. It just serves to re­mind us that there are many peo­ple in pub­lic of­fice that work hard on be­half of us all, and they de­serve to be re­spected and to be kept safe from harm.

We often hear peo­ple talk­ing about build­ing on un­used brown­field sites and I was there­fore pleased to see ap­proval given, last week, for a mixed-use de­vel­op­ment on the old Pow­er­gen site along Vic­to­ria Way. The plans by U+I in part­ner­ship with Quinn Es­tates and Neigh­bour, are for 660 qual­ity apart­ments, to­gether with an in­ter­est­ing and much im­proved pub­lic realm.

This re­gen­er­a­tion project will link the town cen­tre with Vic­to­ria Park, thus cre­at­ing a new res­i­den­tial com­mu­nity very close to Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional Sta­tion. This will cer­tainly in­ject new life into what is cur­rently an un­used and derelict site, which in turn will as­sist in the con­tin­u­ing re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of Ash­ford town cen­tre.

At the other end of the scale an in­de­pen­dent teashop will soon be help­ing to brew-up more busi­ness for Park Mall with tea, cake and other in­spired treats. The Lit­tle Teapot is yet an­other ex­am­ple of a lo­cal busi­ness re­spond­ing to our ac­tion in ac­quir­ing Park Mall and set­ting up their new busi­ness to help with the area’s re­ju­ve­na­tion.

An­other pos­i­tive note that may help in cre­at­ing a lit­tle more pride in our chang­ing high street is the fact that Ash­ford has been ac­cepted onto the third and fi­nal year of the na­tional Busi­ness in the Com­mu­nity’s Healthy High Streets pro­gramme. Launched in April 2014, the pro­gramme aims to pro­vide in­ten­sive cor­po­rate sup­port to 100 high streets, con­nect­ing cor­po­rate busi­nesses with es­tab­lished Town Teams to sup­port town cen­tre re­gen­er­a­tion and growth. It is sup­ported by Boots, Marks & Spencer, San­tander, Greggs and Wilko among oth­ers. The suc­cess of our ap­pli­ca­tion was due to our abil­ity to ac­tu­ally de­liver projects in the past three years and the good part­ner­ships we have cre­ated with the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

We can all now clearly see that the new Ash­ford Col­lege is tak­ing shape and will have sev­eral hun­dred stu­dents ar­riv­ing in Septem­ber next year – their ar­rival will help to breathe new life into the town.

To­day is the long-awaited op­por­tu­nity to vote to ei­ther con­tinue our mem­ber­ship of the European Union or to with­draw from it but, what­ever the out­come, we will all have to work to­gether there­after. We will still have to strive to en­sure sus­tained eco­nomic growth, to sup­port job op­por­tu­ni­ties and our im­por­tant health and other ser­vices.

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