All in the name of progress?
How is it possible that Ashford has so many homeless people? How is it that we have a ‘tent village’ in the town and a recognised homeless community at the same time our council leader holds forth about his corporate plan being ‘on track for wealth’?
He tells us that his four areas of activity are going well. One of these is called ‘Enterprising Ashford’. I take it this is the project that has unhoused some worthwhile charity and community enterprises to make way for the businesses the council hopes to attract.
He mentions ‘Living Ashford’; this presumably includes the Chilmington housing estate which will do nothing to improve the lives of Ashford residents, while causing monumental problems for local roads and, most importantly, our William Harvey Hospital.
The area of ‘progress’ which caused me much wry amusement is called ‘Active and Creative Ashford’. Of this I have seen no evidence at all. What we have seen is the closure of amenities which gave help to our less fortunate.
Flowers are lovely. Our town centre is bursting with flower growth which, I take it is the spearhead of the ‘Attractive Ashford’ scheme. The town centre always looks its best at this time of year. It’s a shame that many of our most attractive buildings have been grabbed by estate agents where they do all they can to keep the prices of houses out of the reach of the less wealthy locals while making them attractive to immigrants from London. This, of course is no fault of our council.
The ‘Remember When’ column in last week’s KE pays tribute to the number of town pubs that have closed over the years. Steve Salter attributes this to something called ‘progress’, which must mean the introduction of the ban on smoking in public places and the supplies of cheap alcohol available from stores.
Last Saturday the town centre was taken over by a religious group. There were some fine paintings which I took to represent the stations of the cross and some fine singing from the bandstand.
There was a preacher holding forth in a foreign tongue. I was saddened to hear a local woman say “what’s Ashford coming to? I can’t understand a word he’s saying”.