Artist's impression of Elwick Place
Artist's impression of Elwick Place
The international town of Ashford, currently ranked as the best business location in Kent, remains the number one choice for inward investment in the county and a commercial powerhouse in the South East.
Having enjoyed dynamic growth in 2015, with over 1,000 homes completed last year and new commercial developments taking shape, Ashford Borough Council’s hands-on approach continues to drive forward key development opportunities in 2016, attracting a wealth of investors from across Kent and beyond.
In May Ashford Borough Council announced that it is to fund construction of the long-awaited £75 million Elwick Place development in the heart of the town. The scheme, which is being developed by Stanhope PLC, will breathe new life into a vacant 2.6 hectare (6.42 acre) brownfield site with a six-screen cinema, hotel, and eight restaurant/bars.
The council has also thrown its full support behind a £4 million model railway centre, agreeing to provide a secured loan to purchase land for its new home. The loan is a huge boost for the Ashford International Model Railway Education Centre which can now buy land at the former Klondyke railway works in order to build the tourist attraction.
Quinn Estates, working alongside George Wilson Holdings, is developing plans for a new town centre office building next to Ashford International Station. The 80,000sqft office block, along Station Road, will be part of Ashford’s exciting new business hub. The Commercial Quarter is stimulating major investment opportunities and will create several thousand jobs, 590,000sqft of office space and 150 homes.
Also close to Ashford International Station, Curious Drinks Limited, the beer and cider subsidiary of Ashford’s Chapel Down winery, is planning to build a new state-of-the-art brewery and visitor attraction, enabling it to increase its domestic and international distribution.
Further commercial development is under way at Ashford’s Orbital Park, where Salmon Harvester Properties’ £8 million Axiom scheme promises 55,000sqft in seven industrial units and warehouses which will be ready for occupation soon.
There are a number of serviced offices available in the town, giving many businesses a flexible, cost-effective workspace. Kent Space opened in 2014 to provide 27 high-quality serviced office suites, two hi-tech meeting rooms and 300-plus self-storage units. Now a further 30 serviced office suites and 250 storage units are planned at their site in Kingsnorth. More recently the global workspace provider Regus opened in The Panorama, and expects the facility to attract a variety of local and national businesses.
All of this commercial development is being complemented by major housing developments across Ashford.
Leading property regeneration company U+I is planning 800 homes and new amenities across two sites in Ashford, bringing over 200 jobs to the area in the process and creating a new community on Victoria Way; while Crest Nicholson’s prime Finberry development, a brand new community of 1,180 homes, commercial space, a primary school, convenience store, restaurant, health centre, community centre and sports pitches, continues to take shape. Work is also due to start soon on the 5,750-home neighbourhood at Chilmington Green.
First-rate education and healthcare provision is also a key priority for Ashford. Construction work is under way on a new £16 million state-of-the-art Ashford College Campus, while One Healthcare Ashford is an innovative new £30m hospital which has recently opened, creating 90 jobs.
This diverse portfolio of development will continue to transform the Ashford landscape in 2016 – and with over £100 million of infrastructure planned, there are many more opportunities to invest in Kent’s largest borough and become part of the Ashford success story as it continues to look to the future.
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