Kentish Express Ashford & District

Demolished in the name of ‘progress’

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Back in the 1960s and 70s, there was a trend across the country where long-standing and untouched cross sections of our historic towns and cities were concreted over and given the modernity treatment.

These decisions were always met with controvers­y, making the landowners and planning authoritie­s incredibly unpopular.

Some 50 to 60 years later, planners are still as unpopular and controvers­ial insomuch as some seemingly care even less when it comes to the opinions and plights of those who are directly affected by their proposals.

Years ago, many had their homes or even their business premises destroyed in the name of progress and shut up shop for good where the latter was concerned.

There are many still very aware of the antics of our past planners and scores of people still have stories of how parts of our town were ruined.

While a town or city needs to move with the times, the gripe is predominan­tly against the sacrifice of many beautiful buildings and indeed their replacemen­t by ugly and soulless alternativ­es.

Streets and streets of residences in our town of Ashford were sacrificed for some of the most ugly of buildings and senseless developmen­ts.

Historical cross-sections of the town’s buildings fell derelict after being earmarked for demolition.

Time after time, history was cleared and land was prepared for new buildings.

There have been plenty of sites across town like that over the decades.

With the amount of new residences being thrown up in the area today, it seems a bit crazy that there were many good streets and houses sacrificed throughout the years.

With better planning, there would have been no need to build so many new-builds some 50-plus years later.

This week, Remember When takes a look back at the area cleared for the Tufton Centre in the early 1970s and where scores of residences and business premises once stood.

Do you have any photograph­s or slides of old Ashford you would be willing to loan me, to enable them to be scanned for a possible feature in the Kentish Express?

Please don’t delay, get in touch!

Please email me: rememberwh­en_kmash@ hotmail.co.uk

Write to me: Steve Salter, Kentish Express Remember When, Unit 4, Park Mall Shopping Centre, Ashford, Kent, TN24 8RY or call 01233 623232.

 ??  ?? 1972 - A splendid view taken from Apsley Street illustrati­ng the town beyond Bank Street in the background with the former Methodist Church (centre) and Hempsted Street (foreground) being used as a temporary car park, on land where houses once stood. The church of St Mary the Virgin can be seen in the background
1972 - A splendid view taken from Apsley Street illustrati­ng the town beyond Bank Street in the background with the former Methodist Church (centre) and Hempsted Street (foreground) being used as a temporary car park, on land where houses once stood. The church of St Mary the Virgin can be seen in the background
 ??  ?? 1972 - Hempsted Street with its junctions of Middle Street and Tufton Street during the land clearance for the Tufton Centre. The former Wellington Hotel can be seen next to the demolished houses (centre left) with the former Elwick Club in Tufton Street (centre right)
1972 - Hempsted Street with its junctions of Middle Street and Tufton Street during the land clearance for the Tufton Centre. The former Wellington Hotel can be seen next to the demolished houses (centre left) with the former Elwick Club in Tufton Street (centre right)

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