Elwick Place CGi
Elwick Place CGi
Ashford Borough Council (ABC) is planning to buy the planned £75 million cinema complex at Elwick Place.
The developers, Stanhope PLC, are planning to redevelop the empty land near the town centre into a 60-bed hotel, restaurants, shops and homes.
Ashford Borough Council has recommended plans to purchase the development themselves and provide short-term funding to the scheme.
The leader of the council, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, said the development is one of the borough's Big 8 priority projects and the plans to purchase it will help the council become commercially run and self-reliant.
He said: "We firmly believe that this is in the best interests of the borough as this investment opportunity will enable services to be maintained, and will continue the revitalisation of Ashford town centre.
"This acquisition underlines the business-like approach being taken by the council, building on our successful purchases of International House and Park Mall.
"Our number one priority is to deliver investment and jobs through an enterprising approach and this epitomises what Ashford and modern-day local government is about.
"Having a solid economic base enables the council to continue to support our very important wider rural economy set in and around our delightful villages, and in our rural town of Tenterden.
"Taking this bold decision underlines the importance of the town centre to the Council and shows residents, existing businesses and those considering Ashford as a location for their business, that Ashford is a place of positive action.
"Ashford has a can-do authority that continues to place its faith in a revived and reinvigorated town centre both during office hours and into the evening. These really are exciting times for Ashford.”
The final decision on whether they will acquire the complex will be made by full council shortly.
Gary Bourne, Director at Stanhope PLC, said: "ABC's acquisition marks the culmination of years of hard work, undertaken to realise the terrific potential of this key town centre site.
"It will enable the transformation of Elwick Place to proceed with a solid financial foundation and it will play an important role in delivering genuinely outstanding regeneration that will benefit the whole town."
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