In search of an­swers on mys­tery stag

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Nuts & Bolts -

The stag mys­tery we high­lighted in last week’s Nuts and Bolts has been solved. We re­ported how un­ac­counted for stag sculp­tures had been in­cluded in artist’s im­pres­sions of the de­vel­op­ment for 660 new homes, shared pub­lic spa­ces and a cafe near the town cen­tre – on the for­mer Pow­er­gen site.

The stags fea­tured in com­puter gen­er­ated images from de­vel­op­ers U+I and Quinn Es­tates, who have now se­cured plan­ning per­mis­sion for a mix of flats and houses on cur­rently va­cant land off Vic­to­ria Road.

At the time we were un­able to as­cer­tain whether the idea was to have a big stag sculp­ture as a fea­ture of the de­vel­op­ment or whether who­ever cre­ated the artist’s im­pres­sions was just hav­ing a bit of fun.

Well we’ve now had a re­sponse from the de­vel­op­ers who tell us that Guy Hol­loway Ar­chi­tects, who are de­sign­ing the scheme, are in­deed hope­ful that two stag sculp­tures will form part of the scheme, de­signed by renowned artist and sculp­tor Jonathon Wright.

And why stag sculp­tures you may ask?

Well there is a his­tor­i­cal link which makes it all very in­ter­est­ing.

The land­mark Hu­bert Foun­tain in Vic­to­ria Park, which is ad­ja­cent to the de­vel­op­ment site, once in­cluded stag sculp­tures on ei­ther side of its base, but th­ese were melted down for the war ef­fort.

So the idea is to re­in­state sim­i­lar stag sculp­tures – one red and the other coloured gold – back to this lo­ca­tion by in­cor­po­rat­ing them into the scheme.

Although the sug­ges­tion has not been def­i­nitely con­firmed yet we reckon it’s a great idea.

A press re­lease ar­rived late last week from Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil (ABC) crow­ing about how it is in­tro­duc­ing free park­ing in se­lect town cen­tre streets af­ter 6pm, Mon­day to Satur­day, in a bid to boost the “night-time econ­omy”.

So now visi­tors will be able to park for free in pay and dis­play park­ing bays in the High Street, North Street and Bank Street in the evenings.

Cyn­ics might ar­gue as to ex­actly what “night-time econ­omy” there is to boost in the town cen­tre and also why it has taken ABC so long to come up with this rev­o­lu­tion­ary idea when many have ar­gued for years that the way to boost trade in the town cen­tre is to of­fer car park­ing con­ces­sions.

A mem­ber of the Nuts and Bolts team who fre­quents The John Wal­lis oc­ca­sion­ally has been amazed to watch hunt­ing pairs of traf­fic war­dens (ABC prob­a­bly calls them park­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cers) tick­et­ing cars in the bays in that part of the High Street on evenings when the only other thing in the road has been bits of tum­ble­weed blow­ing past in the breeze.

The af­ter 6pm free park­ing is on a six month trial ba­sis ap­par­ently and will be in­tro­duced per­ma­nently if “suc­cess­ful”. Let’s hope so be­cause you only have to con­trast the num­ber of peo­ple in the town cen­tre on any given evening with the crowds who flock to Eureka Park (where park­ing coin­ci­den­tally is FREE all the time) to see where Ash­ford’s “night-time econ­omy” is ac­tu­ally lo­cated.

The KE oc­ca­sion­ally gets sent CCTV images – usu­ally from the po­lice – seek­ing help in trac­ing ne’er-do-wells who have some kind of in­volve­ment in crime.

Sadly, de­spite mas­sive ad­vances in new tech­nol­ogy in re­cent years the images that CCTV cam­eras take are not al­ways the best.

They fre­quently show blurry faces and the best clue to who the per­son or per­son in­volved might ac­tu­ally be is the clothes they are wear­ing.

A pair of dis­tinc­tive train­ers are often more dis­tin­guish­able than stub­ble on a mys­tery face.

But we were very in­trigued at this CCTV im­age sent to us last week in con­nec­tion with a duo be­ing sought over the rob­bery of a man in the al­ley­way that runs from El­wick Road through Vic­to­ria Park to Jem­mett Road. The in­ci­dent is re­ported else­where in this week’s pa­per but we doubt that de­tec­tives will get much re­sponse from this CCTV im­age.

We don’t want to de­press you un­nec­es­sar­ily but we’re al­ready on the slip­pery slope to­wards win­ter!

Yes, Tues­day was the long­est day of the year (the sum­mer sol­stice) so pretty soon the nights will start draw­ing in and we can all rel­ish the start of au­tumn, be­fore we’ve even had any sum­mer. Oh joy.

The stag takes pride of place in this artist’s im­pres­sion of the Pow­er­gen site - but the idea orig­i­nates from the foun­tain in Vic­to­ria Park

Would you know th­ese peo­ple from the CCTV images?

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