Jobs, shops and homes – town’s changing look
Everywhere you go in Ashford there seems to be cranes, diggers and bricklayers. It’s a boom time for construction firms and in this special feature Kristina Curtis looks at how some of the bigger projects are progressing
This development is one of Ashford’s Big Eight projects and will be part of the Commercial Quarter, a new business hub close to the town centre.
The construction of the new office block in the Dover Place car park began in August 2016 and meant the loss of hundreds of parking spaces. However, 180 of these will be replaced due to an extension on the South Park car park near the Stour Centre.
The skeleton of the fivestorey building is now almost complete and the offices are set to be finished in February 2018. Ashford College
The nearly-completed Ashford College will welcome its first intake of students in September.
Work on the £26 million development, which is located on the corner of Elwick Road and Station Road, began in late 2015.
The modern campus includes a teaching block, dining hall, laboratories, hair and beauty salon, plus an art and media studio and has space for more than 700 students. Elwick Place
Construction work on the Elwick Place cinema/hotel/ restaurants scheme has started.
Planning permission for the massive £75m project was granted in December 2015 and the site will include a 1,000-seat, six-screen cinema, seven restaurants, a 58-room hotel and 282 additional car parking spaces.
Picturehouse, part of Cineworld, will occupy the cinema site when it opens in summer 2018. Victoria Road
Vacant land either side of Victoria Road, opposite Ashford International train station, is to undergo a major rejuvenation.
Around 660 homes will be built in the area, including on the brownfield former Powergen site, as well as 120-bedroom hotel, cafe, an Aldi supermarket and Chapel Down vineyard’s £1.7m Curious Brewery which will also feature a shop, restaurant, bar and guided tours.
The brewery is expected to open in 2018. Co-op Godinton Park
Construction of the new Southern Co-op in Loudon Way, Godinton Park, is well under way, with the roof currently being tiled.
The single-storey shop is being built in the car park between the New Chimney’s pub and the village hall, which caused upset with the residents due to the loss of parking spaces.
It is scheduled to open in November/December this year. Designer Outlet
Ashford’s McArthurGlen Designer Outlet is being revamped and expanded.
The Outlet, which has been open since March 2000, will be adding an extra 38 new shops to the existing 80 shops in the retail centre, creating an additional 500 jobs.
Work on the extension is due to start this year and be completed in 2019. Repton Park
Construction of the new community centre at Repton Park is well under way.
Repton Connect, located in Repton Avenue, will provide space to host clubs, courses, workshops, social events and will also have an outdoor games area.
It is hoped that the centre will be finished this year.
Plans for a new office block in Ashford have been put forward by Quinn Estates and George Wilson Holdings