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Last week saw another significant milestone for yet another major project in Ashford. I was pleased to be invited by developers Quinn Estates and George Wilson Developments to take part in a special ceremony to mark the topping out of the Commercial Quarter, our new business hub opposite Ashford International Station.
Work on the project began in January, and it will create 80,500 sq ft of space in the first phase alone and around 600 jobs. I’m told it is on course for completion in January 2018 and with 75% of space already let. Its prime central location in Dover Place has made this prestigious site one of the most sought-after business locations in the county.
Aspire Landscape Management, Ashford Borough Council’s in-house grounds maintenance service, is now one year old. At the start of October 2016 the council brought the responsibility for grounds maintenance across the borough back in-house.
One year on, the reaction from residents has been positive, with the public seeing the difference Aspire is making to the borough.
The service covers the day-to-day work of mowing, pruning, planting, clearing and litter picking on various spaces owned by the council. We are pleased with the impact Aspire has made.
The council and the Ashford Leisure Trust trustees have signed a new partnership agreement that will reinvigorate the way leisure is provided in the borough. This paves the way for us to work together to secure major investment in the facilities, and to ensure that we can provide the best and widest possible range of leisure opportunities for residents.
Both organisations have agreed to work together to appoint a new leisure operator for the major leisure facilities operated by the two organisation, such as the Stour Centre, Julie Rose Stadium, the Conningbrook Lakes and other leisure sites owned by Ashford Borough Council. This should result in enhanced leisure opportunities and facilities for the local community.
The procurement process to appoint a leisure operator is expected to take around 18 months. During this period it is very much business as usual at the town’s leisure sites, with no impact on services or customers.