Ashford Voice


Welcome to February's issue of Ashford Voice

After a Christmas break, we’re back with a packed issue of news, features and events for you.

2018 is going to be a great year for Ashford, we can feel it! So, what is there to look forward to? Well for starters, the completion of Elwick Place - a brand new restaurant and cinema complex in the heart of Ashford, plus the launch of the Ashford Snowdog Sculpture Trail, and of course we can’t forget Create 2018 and Create Platform which will bring together and showcase the best local talent in one fantastic free music festival!

In this month’s issue, read a handy roundup of our strategic Big 8 projects,  including the latest on the Designer Outlet expansion, the new Eurostar trains arriving in April, and the widening of the A28 Chart Road in preparation for the Chilmington Green. What's more, see how we’re promoting a smoke free environment, and discover what the new LoveAshford Film Club is all about!

Plus, we’re calling on musicians, performers and entertainers to apply to play at Create 2018, as well as creative artists to decorate one of our giant Snowdogs as part of a borough-wide sculpture trail later this year!

Make sure you check out the What’s On Section for a list of fun local events, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have great local event you’d like to promote.

Happy reading!

Our News

Latest news

Sing out for all local music acts, apply-to-play Create Music Festival


Ashford’s Create Music Festival is back and organisers are once again on the hunt to find the right mix of new and established acts to take on the four live music stages.

Since its first festival in 1995, Create has become one of the largest free music events in the South East, growing in reputation through hosting national headline acts, nurturing the local music scene, and growing the offer of arts entertainment on and off the park.

Last year one of the most successful ska bands of the 2-tone era, The Selecter, headlined the Ashford College Main Stage. The Bay Rays, the latest act to arise from Kent headlined the Revelation Stage, and a range of local artists and groups performed on the County Square Community Stage and the Ashford College DJ Stage.

If you think you have what it takes to entertain the estimated 12,000 music lovers who attend across the course of the day, and would like to be in with a chance to play on Saturday 21st July 2018, then you’re invited to apply online. Performers of all genres, from bands, DJs, singer-songwriters and performance poets are all encouraged to sign up. We are especially trying to encourage acts from the local community and live digital and electronic acts. 

The closing date for entries is 12noon on Thursday 1st March 2018.  Apply online

Providing more Domestic Abuse services


Domestic abuse services will continue to expand in Ashford, thanks to the success of a strong multi-agency network programme.

Cabinet members earlier paid tribute to the Ashford Domestic Abuse Forum, which works alongside professionals in the health, police, fire, voluntary, local authority and charitable sectors to support those seeking help.

The charity’s achievements include the Ashford Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop, and an ever-growing series of victim programmes.

Additional funding has already been secured to provide a support network for both adolescent girls and boys, young women, and a specialist one-to-one service for children affected by domestic violence.

The Ashford Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop, a weekly drop-in centre where victims can receive advice and support, received 443 visitors between July 2016 and June 2017 – a 20% increase compared to the same period in 2015-16. The Ashford One Stop Shop is open every Tuesday between 9.30am and 12.30pm at The Willows Centre, Brookfield Road.

Ashford Borough Council funds the full-time domestic abuse coordinator post, as well as providing money towards an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), who is the primary contact for victims of domestic abuse. The council was also successful in bidding for funds to provide emergency accommodation to female victims of domestic violence.

Find more information on other services available and other One Stop Shop’s across the county. 

Look out for new recycling stickers


To build on Ashford’s fantastic recycling success so far and to help our residents remember which items they can place in their recycling bin, we have created a handy sticker with clear pictures of waste items that can be recycled.

The council’s contractor, Biffa, will be placing the stickers on the lid of the green recycling bins from Monday 5th March.

Any unrecyclable item has the potential to contaminate a whole load, which could represent as many as 500 households that have carefully separated the right materials for recycling, which is why we are encouraging residents to look at the handy sticker and recycle smart. We also hope this will help us to avoid penalties from rejected loads which costs the council and taxpayers money.

Cllr Clair Bell, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Land Management, said: “Ashford is doing a tremendous job at recycling and last year we found out we were the best recycling local authority in Kent for a third consecutive year. However, we are always striving to improve our performance by ensuring the recycling collected is of the highest quality, and we need our residents to help us achieve this.

“We hope the stickers encourage residents to recycle as much as possible and act as a useful reminder of the items that can be placed in their green bin.”

Any additional clean recycling can be placed in a clear plastic bag can be left out on recycling week ready for Biffa to collect. Any waste not in a clear plastic bag will not be collected. You can maximise space in your green recycling bin by flattening cardboard boxes and plastic bottles.

Creating a safe environment around Ashford International railway station


A new zebra crossing on Station Approach and the relocation of the taxi waiting area to the Stour Centre car park now creates a safer environment for all around Ashford International railway station.

Pedestrians now have an easy, safe and more direct route to the Commercial Quarter, college and town centre thanks to a new zebra crossing situated between the station and International House.

As part of the improvements to create a safer environment around the station forecourt, the taxi waiting facilities have been relocated to the Stour Centre car park. The new location will allow more taxis to wait until space is available on the taxi rank (from seven currently to 17), reduce vehicle congestion and improve the general flow of vehicles around the station entrance.

Ashford’s taxi drivers will benefit from a safer taxi queuing system and a more comfortable and quiet area to wait for customers in.

These initiatives were developed following consultation with a number of stakeholders, including taxi drivers. An online consultation received over 70 replies and detailed discussions were held with taxi drivers at two taxi forums.

Focus On

Calling all artists for our pawfect sculpure trail!

Calling artists and creative people! We need you to help us to design and paint Ashford’s giant blank Snowdog sculptures, for a trail of over 30 dogs to be placed across the borough from September to November 2018.

The trail will attract thousands of visitors from far and wide to see your beautiful and individually designed work. A gala auction of the Snowdogs in December 2018 will hope to raise significant funds for Pilgrims Hospices, to provide specialist end-of-life care for local people.


Creative people are invited to attend the Artist Inspiration Event at County Square on 22nd February 2018 where they can chat with the team over a glass of wine and canapés, meet 'Sparky' and a plain white Snowdog, check out our new Artist Studio and pick up an Artist Pack with all the information you need to submit a design.

If your design is chosen by our sponsors, we will pay you a fee of £800 to apply your design on to the Snowdog.

Find out how to submit a design, deadline dates, the selection process, painting the Snowdogs, the trail, the final auction and answering any questions you might have.

Places are limited, so please book your free place


Ashford's big projects - a new year roundup

A number of major projects are taking shape, with work now under way on McArthurGlen Ashford Designer Outlet, A28 Chart Road, and Ashford International improvements. Here's a roundup of all the latest developments.

Ashford Designer Outlet Expansion


Building work has begun on the at Ashford Designer Outlet’s £90million extension, its first since 2000, which will offer 50 new premium and luxury brands and create 500 further jobs across the centre.

The outlet’s popularity continues to grow, welcoming 3.6million guests every year – with increasing numbers of London visitors and European and international tourists.

Expansion work is due to be completed in autumn 2019.

Widening A28 Chart Road


Meanwhile, preparatory work for the widening of the A28 Chart Road has started, with some vegetation and trees needing to be cleared from the site.

Once this is completed, Kent County Council will then begin work on the £26million project to widen Chart Road between the Tank and Matalan roundabouts in March.

The widening is in preparation for the Chilmington Green development, which will see around 5,750 homes being built over the next 25 years.

Work has also begun on the new J10a on the M20 at Ashford, which will deliver extra road capacity to cater for the borough’s future needs.

International links at Ashford International


And at Ashford International, work continues on updating platforms to allow new international trains, including the e320 Eurostar, to stop in the borough.

The work is part of a £10m project being delivered by Network Rail and backed by Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council, with funding coming from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund.

The improvement works will safeguard direct high-speed services to the continent from Ashford, with the first of Eurostar’s new e320 trains set to arrive from April.

The 'Big 8'

The borough has a rich heritage but is also embracing growth with its ambitious plans for the future. These projects form part of  large-scale developments, called the 'Big 8'. Read more about Ashford's strategic projects.

Promoting a smoke free environment

Ashford Borough Council is trialling an 18-month scheme from January 2018 to promote the grounds of the Civic Centre and the Stour Centre as a smokefree environment.

The smokefree area surrounds the Civic and the Stour Centre; it includes the land up to the roadway that runs through the grounds, as well as the footpath alongside the river adjacent to the Stour Centre, towards the station.

People who wish to smoke or vape will be asked not to do so in this area.

The smokefree area cannot be legally enforced, but we hope that our visitors and employees will support this important public health initiative.

The trial is being monitored and will include a review of the council’s smoking policy as relevant to our employees.

Signs have been installed to inform and remind members of the public and council staff that they are in a smokefree area.


This project forms part of the Ashford Health and Wellbeing Board’s work to create a healthy environment for our residents, visitors and employees, as well as supporting the wellbeing objectives of the council and the Stour Centre.

Smoking is a priority for both KCC Public Health and the Ashford Health and Wellbeing Board, and smokefree grounds is part wider programme to tackle this health issue.

For support on quitting smoking, visit Ashford’s health shop, ONE YOU located in Park Mall. The shop is a collaborative project with Kent Public Health and Kent Community Health Foundation Trust.

Your Community

LoveAshford film club launches

What better way to kick-start half term than spending some quality time with the family!

Local families and children headed down to St Mary’s Church in Ashford on Saturday 10th February to enjoy a special family-friendly screening of two popular Disney movies., Ashford’s digital high street, teamed up with Revelation Ashford to show The Jungle Book and Mary Poppins on a big screen.

As youngsters munched on popcorn and sweets, parents enjoyed a drink from the Chapel Down bar as they watched the classic movies.


As a special surprise for the children, actors dressed as Peter Pan, Belle, Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland made appearances around the town and at Revelation Ashford. Children enjoyed playing fun games with the characters before the film began to get them in the Disney spirit!


The film screenings were part of the launch of the LoveAshford Film Club, which will deliver a variety of films throughout the year for visitors, families and film-fanatics alike. Keep an eye out on LoveAshford for the next film event.

Stay up to date with all the latest town centre news and offers by following LoveAshford on Facebook at @LoveAshford, on Twitter at @love_ashford and Instagram at @Loveashford.

Brand new book stop for Singleton

Whether you enjoy mind boggling mysteries, swashbuckling adventures or futuristic sci-fi, there’s nothing like getting stuck into a good book.

That’s why Ashford Borough Council’s Town Centre Action Team has installed its sixth book stop in the borough.


The book stop is located at the bottom of Singleton Hill outside the Singleton Oast play area and has already proved popular with residents.Anyone passing by is welcome to borrow a book; this could be children on their way to the play area or residents out for a walk.

The beauty of the book stop is that you’ll never be sure what type of book you’ll find maybe you’ll find an autobiography, a supernatural thriller or even a comic book!

This book stop is made entirely from recycled, scrap and donated wood, the only thing that is new is the Perspex window in the door! The design was inspired by the Singleton manor house located behind the Singleton Barn.

Visitors are encouraged to pick up a book, completely free of charge, and replace it with one they have already read.




Ashford marks Holocaust Memorial Day 2018

Ashford once again marked Holocaust Memorial Day with a series of commemorative events.

Holocaust Memorial Day commemorates the victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution during WWII and the subsequent genocides of Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

St Mary’s Church hosted a special commemorative service and an exhibition detailing the history of the genocides and the life stories of some of the survivors.

In the evening, secondary school pupils from Towers School, The Norton Knatchbull School, Ashford School and the North School performed reflective, creative pieces inspired by 2018's theme ‘The Power of Words’. The performances were inspired by the testimony of Holocaust survivor Janine Webber, who visited Ashford in December 2017 to share her remarkable story of survival as a Jewish child in Nazi Occupied Poland. 

Janine Webber

Last year over 7,700 local activities took place across the UK to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, with people coming together in civic halls, public spaces, libraries, cinemas, workplaces, schools and universities.

Cllr Mike Bennett, Portfolio Holder for Culture, said: “It was important that Ashford Borough Council once again marked Holocaust Memorial Day. It was a strong reminder of our small place in the world and the significant events in history that have touched our residents.

“St Mary’s Church hosted a commemorative service in the morning, and this was followed by a poignant exhibition within the church detailing the history of the genocides and the life stories of some of the survivors. The reflective, creative performances from local sixth form students were excellent, and it was pleasing to see local pupils getting involved with marking this important event.”

Your Council

Environmental volunteer presented with Mayor’s Achievement Award

The Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Winston Michael, presented Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership (KSCP) volunteer, Brian Sandall with the Mayor’s Achievement Award last month at The Mayor’s Parlour, Civic Centre, Ashford.  

Brian Sandall, age 79, was presented with the first environmental award. He has volunteered with KSCP since 2007 and is one of the longest serving volunteers for both Ashford and Canterbury tasks, approximately 50 weeks a year. He was accompanied by his daughter-in-law, Mrs Claire Sandall and KSCP officers, Diane Comley and Debbie Reynolds.

Brian Sandall

Cllr Winston Michael said, “As a volunteer for KSCP myself, I appreciate the exceptional dedication Brian has given to the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership over 10 years. He is a remarkable volunteer and exemplifies the best of volunteering as well as being an outstanding ambassador for wildlife conservation throughout Ashford Borough and Kent.” 

“His quiet and kind demeanour has made him an incredibly special and valuable member of the team”, added Diane Comley, officer for KSCP. “Brian has contributed his time and energy to the conservation and environmental improvements throughout the Stour Valley with tasks such as tree planting, coppicing, meadow cut and clearing, pond and river work and access improvements. He is invaluable member of the team.”

In response to the kind words of both the Mayor and the KSCP Partnership Officers, Brian said, “Throughout my working life I enjoyed spending free time walking in the countryside and wanted to put something back into the natural world.

“After picking up a KSCP newsletter, my late wife encouraged me to volunteer. However, years later from coming home wet and muddy on a number of occasions she said ‘Why didn’t I find you a nice office job for your retirement!’”


The Mayor’s Achievement Awards will be presented to individuals and groups throughout Cllr Michael’s year of office as Mayor of Ashford and is part of his emphasis on encouraging and inspiring young people and adults alike.

The Mayor’s two charities for the year are the Uprising Youth and Community charity reaching out to the Ashford residents with recreational and leisure time activities and The Wyvern School for children with severe, profound and complex needs at Great Chart.

A bright future for Singleton Environment Centre

A popular and well-used community centre in Singleton has a bright future thanks to an agreement between Ashford Borough Council and Great Chart with Singleton Parish Council which will safeguard the centre’s future and ensure it continues to thrive.

Ashford Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed to grant a lease to the parish council who will form a trust to run the Singleton Environment Centre and continue its success as a valued facility used by residents of Singleton, Brisley Farm, Stanhope, Chilmington Green and beyond.

Singleton Environment Centre

Since it opened in 2008 the centre has become a focal point for the local community providing a hub for volunteering, a broad range of community events such as health walks and woodland task days and Footprints café which offers local and seasonal produce.

The British Trust for Conversation Volunteers (now TCV) had been leasing the centre from the council but last month they gave notice of their intention to terminate their lease on the 10th March 2018.

Since then the council has been looking for a new operator and is now in a position to work with the parish council who wish to see it remain a community facility with an environmental focus. They are extremely keen to develop a range of family and community focused activities as well as developing its commercial use.

The current centre manager will transfer across and both existing tenants, Footprints Café and Soothing Pod, have indicated a desire to remain, so for the many regular users and visitors to the centre it will be business as usual.

Ashford businesses – are you disposing your waste correctly?

Whilst the majority of Ashford businesses manage their waste correctly, we want to ensure all enterprises understand their legal responsibilities.

Not only does dumped rubbish make the streets unsightly, it costs Ashford Borough Council £135,000 a year to remove and is unfair to businesses who correctly dispose of their waste. Duty of Care legislation applies to all businesses and, if breached, can lead to prosecution – something the council does not want to happen.

Your duty of care starts from the moment a business produces waste – whether that be unused materials or post that comes through the letterbox. Most businesses in the borough have a contract with a licensed private company to dispose of their rubbish, but owners are still responsible until it is recycled or disposed of.

Those who deal with their own waste need to be registered as a waste carrier, with each waste stream required to be addressed separately and have its own transportation. Hazardous or hygiene/healthcare waste needing to be compliant with Carriage of Dangerous Goods rules is another example of the legal responsibilities involved. We also expect businesses to check that the waste carrier they contract has a waste carriers licence and provides evidence of disposal.

The council’s environmental team are always on hand to advise business owners and answer any questions they may have regarding waste requirements, including recycling. Although it can vary with different contractors, recyclable dry items include cans, plastics, glass, paper, waste food and cardboard.

To help businesses dispose of their waste correctly we’ve put together some top tips:

  • If an item cannot be reused, repaired or recycled, and is not hazardous or electrical, this can be placed in the general waste bin
  • Keep all waste in a suitable container. Avoid any leakage of fluid and grease by first wrapping food and vegetable matter in paper
  • Waste generated by your business will not be collected with household waste – allowing this to happen is in breach of Duty of Care legislation
  • Business waste includes post, food eaten on business premises and floor sweepings. It is an offence to take this home and place in your domestic bin
  • If you give waste to a contractor, you must check they are an authorised carrier
  • Businesses are legally required to keep copies of their trade waste contract for the previous two years, which can be requested by enforcement officers at any time


Download the Duty of Care leaflet

For more information contact, visit the council website or  Right Waste Right Place

What's On

What's On

Want to know what festive events are happening in the borough this month? Check out our events listings below. You can also find out what's on in Tenterden every month with the TENTERDEN EVENTS DIARY

Got a great event or a  meeting you want to promote? Email us at to have it listed here.



2018 Tenterden Model Railway Exhibition

24th-25th February, 10am - 5pm
Homewood School, Ashford Road, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6LT

See a whole host of miniature trains on a variety of layouts at the annual railway exhibition presented by Ashford Model Railway Club. Open between 10am-5pm on Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday, there will also a variety of stalls and refreshments available. Tickets are priced at £4.50 adults, £4 seniors, £3 children, £12 family (two adults and two children).

Appledore Trail – Walk 100

24th February, 10.30am - 2.30pm
Methodist Chapel, Appledore, Ashford, Kent, TN26 2AF

Discover what life was like in Appledore during World War One by taking a self-guided walk around the village as part of a county-wide initiative. Volunteers will hand out maps and information at the Methodist Chapel between 10.30am and 2.30pm, while a guided tour will take place at 11am. To register, e-mail

Fireside Sparks: Abigail Cardwell and Chris Kennedy

25th February, 3.30pm
Revelation Ashford, The Churchyard, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1QG

Kent musicians Abigail Cardwell (vocals) and Chris Kennedy (piano) will take to the stage at 3.30pm (doors 2.45pm) to perform jazz standards, both new and old. Tickets are priced at £8 adults and £6 children in advance.


Ashford School presents Guys and Dolls

1st-3rd March, 7pm
Ashford School, East Hill, Ashford, Kent, TN24 8PB

The pupils of Ashford School are to present iconic show Guys and Dolls following months of rehearsals. Luck Be A Lady, If I Were A Bell and Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat will be among the hit songs to be performed at 7pm each night (doors 6.30pm). Tickets are priced at £11 adults, £6 students and concessions.


Ashford Farmers’ Market

4th March, 10am - 2pm
Lower High Street, Ashford, Kent, TN24 8TD

Take a look around the monthly farmers’ market and pick up some delicious home-grown produce and hot treats, as well as listen to live music on Ashford’s cobbled streets between 10am and 2pm.


Ashford Invicta Singers concert

Saturday 24th March, 7.30 pm
Towers School, Ashford

Enjoy a choir concert in aid of two local charities, Kennington W.I. (celebrating their Centenary Year) and Downs View Infants School. Listen to popular songs from the musicals, past hits and sacred music composed by Mozart through to Howard Goodall. Tickets cost £10 which include refreshments. Call 01233 633550 to book or buy tickets on the door.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Contact Ashford Voice

Contact Us


Phone: 01233 330719

Write: Ashford Voice, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1PL

For news and features ideas/submissions, please email with the subject NEWS

For events, please upload all details to the Events Calendar

For Your Community listings, please upload details to the Groups and Club directory

How to contact Ashford Borough Council 

See our opening hours over the Christmas break

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Write: Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1PL

All our face-to-face enquiries are now by appointment only at the Civic Centre, Monday to Friday, from 9am to 3.45pm.

Book an appointment to see us at a time that suits you.

Civic Centre opening hours

Venue Day Time
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PL
Monday - Friday 8.30am - 5pm
Call Centre
For all council enquiries
Monday - Friday 8.30am - 4pm
Customer Services Monday - Friday
This is an appointment-only service.

9am - 4pm
Last appointment time is 3.50pm.

Fast Track Desk
Copying/scanning evidence and documents
Monday - Friday 9am - 4pm
Tenterden Town Hall
Town Hall, 24 High St, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6AN
Monday - Friday 9am - 12.30pm and 1.30pm - 4pm
Appointments are available.


Town Centre Action Team (T-CAT)

Email: Twitter: @ashfordcouncil #tcastashford


County Council Services and Useful Information

Kent County Council 

24 hour helpline: 03000 247 247

Environment & waste: 03000 247 600

Highways and transport (including roadworks, potholes and street lighting): 03000 41 81 81

Kent libraries: 03000 41 31 31

Social care & health: 03000 41 61 61

Trading standards for East Kent: 03000 41 20 20

Trading standards for West Kent: 03000 412000

Emergency Services Dial 999 in an emergency only.  Dial 101 for non-emergency calls to your local police 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Kent Police non-emergencies: 101

Ashford Community Safety Unit: 01233 330891

William Harvey Hospital: 01233 633331

Leisure & Tourism Stour Centre 01233 663503 Julie Rose Stadium 01233 613131 Kingsnorth Recreation Centre 01233 503846 Pitchside & Courtside 01233 896511

Other useful phone numbers

Environment Agency floodline  0345 988 1188

Housing Benefit Fraud: 0800 854 440

Fraud against Ashford Borough Council 0800 021 3262

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