Exciting plans to transform Elwick Place - a vacant brownfield site in the heart of Ashford town centre - into a boutique cinema, family hotel, restaurants and cafes are one step closer!
Councillors formally agreed that Ashford Borough Council’s acquisition of the planned town centre cinema and its associated hotel, food and beverage establishments and retail units at Elwick Place, should be progressed.
Cabinet members considered the proposed acquisition on 14th April and recommended that full council considered the purchase of these aspects of the Elwick Place development, which were given planning permission in December 2015. They also agreed the council should provide short-term funding to assist with their delivery. Full council made its formal decision on 21st April.
The importance of acquiring the commercial elements of the development would mean:
- The delivery of another one of the borough’s Big 8 priority projects, creating the vibrant town centre through an enterprising approach outlined in the council’s Five-Year Corporate Plan to 2020
- The borough council can ensure it achieves its long-term objective of self-reliance, using the income generated through rents and business rates to sustain and improve its services without the need for central government funding
- By creating income generation the council can continue to deliver quality services and at the same time endeavour to remain the lowest taxing authority in Kent and one of the lowest in the country
- The council is illustrating to residents, and existing and future businesses, the importance it places on the town centre and how it wishes to stimulate a stronger night-time economy within Ashford
The Conservation Volunteers-celebrating success
The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) invites people to join them at the Singleton Environment Centre on Saturday 21st May between 11am and 3pm to celebrate the end of the Kent Heritage Trees Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund
There will be family friendly workshops including making willow lanterns and elder whistles, pond dipping, guided nature and wild food foraging walks as well as face painting, crafts, local interest groups and a parade.
Cllr. George Koowaree, Deputy Mayor of Ashford, will be attending the event. He will plant a commemorative yew tree to celebrate the work of the Kent Heritage Trees Project.
To see what other events you can get involved in visit the TVC website or contact the Kent Heritage Trees team on 01233 666519 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cleansweep comes to Ashford town centre
Representatives from various partner agencies joined forces with Ashford Borough Council housing officers as part of the latest Operation Cleansweep, which took place last month.
Organised by Ashford’s Community Safety Unit, officers were acting upon information received regarding over-crowded living conditions in a number of town centre premises.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Police, Welfare Intervention, Immigration as well as Environmental Health and Licensing officers from the council joined the housing team to assess the accommodation and safety of living conditions.
The multi-agency team visited a number of premises and received full support from the owners. As a result, residents were made aware of how they could improve their living conditions to make their homes safer for themselves and visitors.
During the operation a male who had been sought with regard to police enquiries was also located and arrested.
For further information on these operations or any other aspect of community safety you can contact the Community Safety Unit on email@example.com, call 01233 330891/2 or visit our Community Safety webpages.
Free parking in council car parks over the May bank holiday weekend
Shoppers can enjoy free parking in certain council-owned car parks in Ashford and Tenterden on select days over the last May bank holiday weekend.
Ashford Borough Council is reminding residents they can park for free all day in the Edinburgh Road and Flour Mills car parks on Sunday 29th and Monday 30th May. Parking will also be free on Sunday 29th May in Station Road car park from 3pm.
In addition, visitors can park for free all day in the Bridewell Lane car park in Tenterden on Sunday 29th and Monday 30th May.
The council hopes that the free parking scheme, which was rolled out in October 2014, will attract more visitors to the town centre and boost trade which will ultimately improve the high streets’ fortunes.
The free parking scheme is one of many new initiatives being introduced to breathe new life into Ashford’s high streets such as Ashford Farmers’ Market, T-CAT and the Love Ashford website. All car parks run by Ashford Borough Council are free after 6pm. Find full details of free parking in Ashford and Tenterden on the council website.
Ashford Arts Centre celebrates 1st anniversary
Ashford Arts Centre and Kent Arts Television Film and Music (KATFM) hosted an afternoon for the Mayor of Ashford, Ashford Borough Councillors, and VIPs from Kent County Council last month.
The afternoon was organised to celebrate the 1st anniversary of Ashford Arts Centre, and to showcase how much had been achieved by the volunteer-led community project, which welcomes over 500 visitors a week and provides a place of employment for over a dozen professionals in the Creative and Performing Arts.
During the Mayor’s visit a tour of the building in Park Street was given including a presentation by Rhonda Merrick about how KATFM (a Community Interest Company) was started, the launch of Ashford Arts Centre, and upcoming events such as the Ashford Fringe Festival – taking place in May for the second year running.
Ashford Arts Centre, created by Rhonda Merrick, has been created to provide affordable studio spaces for small and micro-sized businesses within the creative sector whilst providing practical and educational support, classes and creative events.
Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Geraldine Dyer, said: “I was delighted to attend today to see exactly what has been achieved by this community-led project.
“Throughout my civic year to date I have been struck by the dedication and professionalism of our volunteer communities, and it is a pleasure to see the way in which KATFM and The Ashford Arts Centre project is nurturing the skills that exist in our community.”
Development Update illustrates borough’s planned progress
With so many high-quality projects and developments being delivered and other applications coming forward within the Ashford borough, it can be tricky to keep up to speed with the latest news.
Ashford Borough Council therefore produces a handy newsletter, Development Update, which summarises the progress on major developments across the borough’s town centre, urban and rural sites and explains the latest position on the Local Plan to 2030.
The Local Plan document will ultimately make site allocations for different development uses and set out criteria-based policies to guide planning decisions. It will address the borough’s housing provision, economy, community infrastructure and environmental issues such as adapting to climate change and ensuring high quality design. Consultation on a draft version of the plan will begin in mid-June.
The eight-page document includes details of some of the major planning applications and development projects for which planning applications have been received and permissions have been granted since the last update in September 2015, including Elwick Place, Victoria Way, the Ashford International Model Railway and Education Centre and a host of rural sites including in Brabourne, Shadoxhurst, Smarden and Tenterden.
It is a very accessible document and in addition to artist’s impressions and draft aerial plans it provides the application numbers for residents and businesses to examine each proposal in greater detail.
The latest Development Update can be found on the council’s website Anyone wishing to subscribe to the development update should email the Planning Policy Team on firstname.lastname@example.org