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From Left to right: Mark Quinn, Cllr Gerry Clarkson and George Wilson. Ashford College is in the background.

From Left to right: Mark Quinn, Cllr Gerry Clarkson and George Wilson. Ashford College is in the background.

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Construction commences at Commercial Quarter site.

From Left to right: Mark Quinn, Cllr Gerry Clarkson and George Wilson. Ashford College is in the background.

From Left to right: Mark Quinn, Cllr Gerry Clarkson and George Wilson. Ashford College is in the background.

Work has begun on a building which symbolises Ashford’s enterprising approach towards economic development and growth.

Adjacent to Ashford International Station and opposite the remarkable new £26m Ashford College campus that will welcome its first intake of students this September; the first phase of the Commercial Quarter (CQ 38) is under way.

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, as well as Mark Quinn, Managing Director of Quinn Estates and George Wilson, Chairman of George Wilson Holdings Ltd, were present to mark the start of the project.

Maximising the advantages of its location, just 38 minutes from London and under two hours from Paris, the priority regeneration project, granted planning permission in August 2016 and established as one of the council’s Big 8 strategic projects, will become a dynamic new business hub for the South East.

The first phase of the Commercial Quarter will see 80,500 sqft of flexible office space developed, along with retail and restaurants on the ground floor and additional car parking and landscaping. In total, 590,000 sqft of office space and 150 homes will be delivered within the quarter, with the emphasis on quality and job creation.

The resilience of the Ashford economy is highlighted by the pre-lets for the first phase that have already been agreed. International House, which the council purchased in 2014, is already providing a strong return on investment, highlighting both the need for such space in this area of the town centre, as well as the shrewdness of the council’s initial acquisition of the landmark building.

Cllr Clarkson says: “The Commercial Quarter makes a strong statement about the borough’s economic position, our can-do attitude as an authority, our sharp commercial focus and the confidence key businesses and developers have in the borough.

“I’m confident it will be a catalyst for delivery of jobs and opportunities that our international town of Ashford needs. This is a key strategic site, which has been earmarked for development for some time. Yet it is only since the council acquired it and undertook its own master planning and marketing that this proposal has come forward.”

Mark Quinn says: “It’s great to finally get started on this fantastic project – the biggest office development to be started in the last decade – that will help take Ashford to the next level, boost economic growth, enhance facilities for residents with improved public space and, most importantly of all, create of a range of new jobs.”

George Wilson says: “The start of work on the Commercial Quarter is something that's been talked about for some time. For us as a company it's a really important project, in a prime location that will create hundreds of jobs.”

For further information on the opportunities available within the Commercial Quarter contact Senior Commercial Development Manager Stewart Smith at Ashford Borough Council on 01233 330328 or stewart.smith@ashford.gov.uk

For more information about Ashford’s priority regeneration projects visit www.ashfordfor.com

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