Ashford Voice


Welcome to May's issue of Ashford Voice!

Welcome to May's issue of Ashford Voice! The few glorious days of summery weather we had last week have put us in good spirits and we have plenty of good news and pictures to share with you.

In this month’s Voice, read about Ashford Arts Centre celebrating its first birthday, find out what’s in the latest Development Update newsletter and find out where you can park for free over the May bank holiday weekend.

Readers can also find out the latest on the Create Music Festival; find out which fabulous local artists will be playing, see who is sponsoring the stages and discover how Ashford College students are getting on board with organising the event.

You can also discover why Webbo is looking forward to the events happening in Ashford this summer in his latest column, plus read an interview with manager of The Gym, a brand new fitness facility in Ashford.

But that’s not all; there’s also news on Stag Coffee, a new, trendy, family run coffee shop which has opened up in the town centre, as well as details on this year’s Ashford ArtiGras festival which takes place in Park Mall at the end of May.

There are also plenty of fun events in our What’s On section including free fitness boot camps, a clay sculpture workshop, a curry making session and a charity pjyama walk.

Don’t forget to share any articles you like on Facebook and Twitter, and let Voice know of any great local events happening near you. 


Happy reading!

Our News

Latest news

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


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, 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.

may parking

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 

dev update

Focus On

Stag Coffee – the newest coffee shop in town

A new, trendy, family-run coffee shop has opened up in the town centre!


Run by Freddie Hewett, girlfriend Serena Stoppato, father Mark Hewett, and grandfather Nazim Jaffer, the independent coffee shop has a mix of comfy sofas and armchairs with industrial/warehouse style tables and chairs for seating.

The family-run business is passionate about great tasting coffee and sells fresh bread, soups, quiches, cakes and sandwiches every day. As well as being vegan friendly, Stag also caters for those with nut and gluten allergies.

An unusual encounter with a red stag is what inspired the name of the coffee shop. Whilst Freddie, 24, was mountain biking in New Zeeland, he was following a red stag down a track when it ran ahead. When Freddie rounded a corner, he came face to face with the animal. Freddie slammed on the brakes and went straight over the handlebars and into the animal. He was left with bad cuts and had to cycle back to the town he was staying in. It was in New Zealand that Freddie decided he wanted to open a coffee shop business.


Stag Coffee is located just opposite M&S on the corner of Castle Street. The café is open Monday to Friday, 7am to 6pm, Saturdays from 7.30am to 6pm and Sundays 8.30am to 5pm.

Keep up with all the latest news and offers from Stag Coffee by following them on Facebook at Stag Coffee, or on twitter via @Staglovescoffee

Visit the Stag Coffee website for more information.

Create Music Festival - what's happened so far

Line-up for Ashford Create Festival 2016 announced

It's only two months to go and the excitement is building for this year's Create music festival which is marking its 21st birthday!


The line up so far is:


A Million Little Pieces

The Gallerys

Dorey The Wise



Ben Russell & The Charmers

Riskee and the Ridicule

Old Town Souls

Slam Cartel

Headline Act (TBA)


Megan Valerie

Flat gravity



Jesse Walton

Nat and the Noise Brigade

Rosie Pennie

Warsaw Radio

Silent Crowd

Headline Act (TBA)


Ashford Oaks Primary School Choir

RTM Band Workshop Acts

JUMP Singers

P&O Ferries Choir

Nini Westwood

Danny Leigh

Burrito Cat

The Tomcats

Charlie Monroe



Create takes place on Saturday 23rd July in Victoria Park. 

To keep up with all the news and updates on create visit the Create website

Ashford College supports Create Music Festival’s 21st Birthday

Create Music Festival is giving students from Ashford College the chance to help organise and deliver the Create Music Festival.

Students will learn various aspects of event management and how the Create Festival, which takes place on Saturday 23rd July, is put together. Youngsters will gain valuable work experience on the Ashford College Main Stage in a variety of roles with support from industry professionals; they’ll get involved with everything from assisting with technical support and sound engineering, to stewarding the event on the day.


Rob Forsyth, Learner Manager of Creative Arts at Ashford College said: “Seeing the legend that is Adam Ant, on stage last year with the Ashford College logo behind him was great, but the real success was knowing 12 of our students were hands-on behind the scenes, helping to make it all happen. Some told me it was the best experience of their life.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our students, and we look forward to doing it again. All employers now want their staff to have work experience and this will give these students an unbeatable start.”

Create Festival Organiser, Chris Dixon, said: “It is always great meeting with so many young students with a keen interest in live music production and technology. Many have been to festivals before, but do not have access to getting involved, which is where Create comes in.

“There is huge value to having students involved. They can keep me grounded and up to date with what young people want out of an event, whilst we can help support our future sound engineers, musicians and techies with valuable hands on experience.

“We know, with a bold ambition and more young people involved, Create can keep moving with the times and remain an important platform for live music in the area.

For more details about Ashford College on the Ashford College website


County Square strikes festival gold

County Square shopping centre in Ashford is now on board as Gold Sponsors for the Create music festival.

Lesley Farnborough, Marketing & Commercialisation Coordinator said: “County Square Shopping Centre is very proud to be a Gold Sponsor to the festival. We know how highly regarded the event is in the local community, and I am sure the new Saturday date will greatly benefit our stores.”

Create Organiser Chris Dixon said: “It’s a real pleasure to work alongside County Square who can offer Create so much, especially a connection to the vast number of customers who visit the centre on a daily basis. With County Square on board, it looks like we could have the most fashionable Create festival yet.”

Your Community

Congratulations to our competition winner!

Last month Ashford Voice ran a fabulous competition for all its loyal subscribers, offering you the chance to win a bottle of sparkling rose from Biddenden vineyards and some Curious Brew beers from Chapeldown.

Thank you to everyone who entered, but there can only be one winner!

Congratulations to Isabella!

voice winner

Isabella is 32 years old and lives in Singleton. She plans on sharing the wine and beer with her brother - what a lucky fellow!

Keep your eyes peeled for our next competition in the bumper July/August issue of Ashford Voice!

Webbo's Corner

Finally, the weather is on the turn and our minds turn to the imminent summer. Holidays, tans, shorts and t-shirts, shades and of course, festivals.

We are very blessed indeed to have at least three of the best music festivals in Kent. I've been personally blessed to have been involved with Tentertainment (I love that name, you can't beat a bit of wordplay). It's such a popular event and is once again setting up on the Recreation Fields on the first weekend of July. What I love about this particular event is the very well organised crowd. Chairs and tables, umbrellas (just in case), parasols, ice buckets, canapés, champagne THE LOT.webbo

Then of course we have Create, which is celebrating its 21st birthday and really pushing the boat out, like you do for such a milestone. Plus, this year for the first time in its wonderful history, it will be on a Saturday - July 23rd to be exact. Plenty of breaking news coming your way so watch this space, literally. And I hear a rumour that I might well be making an appearance and not just in the audience.

And snuggled in between these two events is of course The Festival in the Park now on my 10th year of hosting it and I love it. My friend Edward Lockett has drafted in some help to ease the pressure on his furrowed brow as this year, for the first time ever, it kicks off on a Friday on the newly named Martin Judd stage, the local music legend who sadly passed at the end of last year. Radio Ashford's very own Steve Monk and Kellam will host some rock and blues special.

So there you go, July is going to quite literally rock. Bring on the summer.

 Wake up with Webbo is broadcast on Radio Ashford, 107.1FM and on, weekdays between 6am and 10am


Artigras comes to Ashford

After the success and popularity of last year’s celebrations, ArtiGras Ashford is back for another year!

Join local artists, crafters, musicians, dancers and art lovers for a fantastic festival on the 20th and 21st May between 10am and 5pm.


The local town centre festival, organised by the Creative Collective Gallery & Studios, will display a variety of art and crafts and host workshops, live music, dance performances and demonstrations across the two day event.

The festival will be kicked off on Friday with a musical parade from the Phoenix Community Primary School and Herne Bay Junior School samba bands, who will march through the high street to Park Mall Shopping Centre.

On the Saturday there will also be the chance to get the kids involved in a ‘making models and animation’ workshop at the Creative Collective Gallery in Park Mall. There will also be a Piñatas, music on the bandstand, and art and craft fairs to browse and buy from.


Both days will be packed with live performances from Invicta Jazz Orchestra, Ashford Folk, Orfila, TheatreTrain Ashford and Liv2Dance to name a few.

For the chance to exhibit your own work at the ArtiGras Festival, stalls are available to traders for £20 or £30 for both days.

For more information contact the Creative Collective at

The Gym - Ashford's brand new fitness space!

From running and cycling clubs, to group exercise classes and bootcamp sessions, Ashford is lucky enough to have a huge variety of gyms and local fitness groups.

If you’re looking for a fun way to workout, why not try Pound, an intense workout that combines constant drumming, with body conditioning, and pilates to create a total body workout that gets the heart racing. Classes take place at The North School, Ashford every Thursday between 7.30pm and 8.15pm.

If dancing is more your style, boogie over to Clubbersise. Grab your glow sticks and enjoy an hour’s worth of dancing – you won’t even realise you’re working out! Head down to The North School on Tuesdays at 7.30pm or The Park Club on Fridays at 6pm.

Keen cyclists will enjoy CycleRides with Cycle Circle in Ashford. The routes vary from 60 minutes to 2 hours. Rides start at 6pm from Cycle Circle’s workshop in Norfolk Drive (TN23 4FB) and will take place on May 19th and 26th.

There's also plenty of exercise classes and a new spin studio to enjoy at the Stour Centre, adjacent to the Ashford Borough Council Civic Centre.

The Gym Ashford

The Gym is a brand new fitness facility in Ashford handily located on New Street Retail Park just across from Ashford High Street.

It offers everything from high tech gym equipment like virtual spin studios and a free weights area, to fitness classes like Cardio Club, Boxing Circuits and Bums and Tums.

So it’s good news for fitness fanatics as The Gym is open 24/7, so no matter what time of day you want to work up a sweat, you can!


What’s on at The Gym?

Weight training

The Gym has an extended free weights area with plate loaded kits, Olympic weights, racks and resistance machines.


Keen to burn off those calories and increase your fitness? The Gym has a range of cardio kit including MyRide virtual cycle coaching, treadmills, rowing machines and stair climbers.

Group exercise

Don’t like to workout alone? There’s also free group exercise classes in the functional training area which is fully loaded with power bags, kettle bells and plyometric boxes.

Keep up the date with all the latest news and offers from The Gym via Facebook and Twitter

Read an interview with Matthew Finch, manager of The Gym, Ashford, in this issue.

An interview with The Gym manager, Matthew Finch

The Gym in Ashford is managed by Matthew Finch who has been in the fitness industry for 15 years. We caught up with him to find out more about what The Gym has to offer Ashford residents.


How long have you been working in gyms?

I have been working in the leisure industry for over 15 years now and started as a lifeguard after leaving college and then progressed to a fitness instructor before moving into personal training and gym management.

What attracted you to work in the fitness industry?

I have always been interested in sport so a career in the fitness industry seemed the obvious choice and I really enjoy training for and participating in a variety of sports including triathlon.

Did you specialise in a particular area of fitness?

My main speciality is cardiovascular and high intensity interval training; I also do a lot of sport specific training as part of the preparation for triathlon racing.

What do you like about working in Ashford?

I enjoy working at The Gym, Ashford because it attracts a diverse range of people all exercising to achieve individual goals.

Tell us a little bit about your Bootcamp classes you’ll be offering in North Park – what activities can they expect to do?

The bootcamp will encompass a variety of training methods and ultimately will be a challenging but fun way to get in shape for the summer! We will be doing a variety exercises and using equipment such as kettle bells, power bags, medicine balls and agility ladders!

What health benefits will the sessions provide?

The bootcamp sessions will provide a total body workout and improve cardiovascular fitness and help with muscle tone and weight loss.

Why should people sign up to The Gym? What makes you stand out compared to other gyms?

The Gym, Ashford is only £13.99 per month and has no contract! We are open 24/7 and offer high specification equipment, free classes, free parking and you also get three free 1-2-1 sessions with a personal trainer! The Gym is a fun and flexible place for everyone from beginners to athletes alike.

What advice can you offer people looking to achieve a healthy lifestyle?

  • Get some advice first from a fitness professional so you are doing suitable exercises effectively.
  • Consistency is key in achieving goals so stick at it!
  • Vary your exercise program so you don’t get bored.
  • Try an exercise class as they are great fun and motivating.
  • Make that first step and join The Gym or come along to Boot camp!

What benefits can regular exercise offer?

The benefits of regular exercise are huge and include:

  • Combats against health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Improves your mood and reduces stress.
  • Boosts your energy levels.
  • Controls weight.

Sometimes it’s hard to motivate ourselves to go to the gym – do you have any words of encouragement and motivation for gym goers?

Set yourself regular goals and when you achieve them reward yourself with a treat! If your lacking motivation recruit a gym buddy and arrange to work out together then you’ll be less likely to skip the gym!



What would you do with this room?

If you're looking for a space to hold meetings, get some work done or host a local club or community get together, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) may hold the solution.

The Yew Room, situated at the Singleton Environment Centre, Wesley School Road,  is available to rent out for short or long term periods.

The room includes free Wi-Fi, cupboard storage and a sink area with drinking water.

For more information or to rent the room contact the Singleton Environment Centre on 01233 666 519 or email

Discover more about the Singleton Environment Centre.



Your Council

Wheelz - a roaring success!

Motorbike fanatics were in for a treat as Wheelz, a special motorcycle event, took place in Ashford last month.

People of all ages came along to the fun-filled day to pick up some safety riding tips and see bike displays.

Visitors enjoyed motorbike displays and demonstrations and had the opportunity to see well known bike retailers, Dexerity, Laguna and Alexandra Motorcycles, to ask for advice and tips on bike related issues.


The council’s Community Safety Unit offered a free Property Marking service which involved marking vehicles with the owner’s details in invisible UV ink which can help the police identify them should be become lost or stolen.

What’s more, volunteers from Kent Fire and Rescue Service demonstrated a special ‘Biker Down’ first aid session, highlighting what you should do if you see a motorist come off their vehicle.


The event was organised by MotoV8 (part of Sk8side Youth Centre), in partnership with the council’s Community Safety Unit and Kent Fire and Rescue Service. 


Help to shape our homelessness strategy

Homelessness can happen to anyone. Being made homeless or at risk of homelessness can have a detrimental impact on family stability, health and wellbeing, relationships, the development of young children, educational attainment and keeping or accessing employment.

Ashford Borough Council manages homelessness as well as any district or borough in the county and has had very a favourable recent audit of it procedures and processes.

It has put in place a range of proactive measures. These initiatives include:

  • A scheme where the council leases 74 properties from private owners that it uses as a housing option for homeless applicants
  • The council has created its own management service, A Better Choice Lettings, which sees the council use its powers under the 2011 Localism Act to discharge its homelessness duty into the private sector. With guarantees from the council, this sees private landlords house residents who may otherwise find it harder to access private sector homes
  • A deposit bond scheme, which also enables people to access the private sector without having to pay a large deposit up front. This can be paid back over an agreed period until the deposit is paid in full
  • A former commercial property (Christchurch House), purchased and redeveloped by the council in 2014, offers short-term stays to those homelessness applicants to whom the council accepts a duty, saving them the turmoil of having to live out of bed-and-breakfast (B&B) accommodation


However, for a variety of social and economic reasons, homelessness is still an issue that all local authorities have to manage. As the legislation stands, the council must house those presenting as homeless who are assessed as having a medical or physical disability, have a significant mental illness, are pregnant or have dependent children, are homeless as a result of a natural disaster, or are vulnerable or are 16 or 17 years old.

In 2015, an average of 21 homelessness applications were made to Ashford Borough Council each month, with the council accepting its statutory duty to around 13 each month, though the number of households in B&Bs has reduced, with Christchurch House delivering savings to the taxpayer in excess of £75,00 each year.

Private rents are rising and only about 2% now fall below local housing allowance levels, making the sector largely out of reach for those in priority housing need. Evictions from private sector properties lead to many of the cases that the council deals with and it now employs liaison officers to maintain its excellent rapport with the private sector and help work with both landlords and tenants to sustain those tenancies where at all possible.

The council is now consulting on a draft strategy and wants all stakeholders to consider the online documents available at and answer the online questionnaire. The questions ask about how the council should deal with certain categories of homelessness people to whom it accepts a duty, how it should work with other organisations and at what stage it should be intervening to prevent homelessness.

The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday 15th July 2016. All responses received will be considered and used to finalise the Homelessness Strategy which will then be presented to Cabinet which will seek approval for its adoption by full Council.

Cllr Paul Clokie, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing and home ownership, said: “While we are very proactive in offering solutions for homelessness and to increase the resilience of our housing stock, we also need to consider ways in which we can improve our services. This is a vital area, both from a financial perspective but of course from a human perspective. It is absolutely critical that we get it right and so we are involving everyone in our wide-ranging review. At the same time we have to remember those of our residents who already qualify to be on the waiting list.”

Council meeting dates

Council meeting dates for May / June 2016

Wednesday 18th May – Planning Committee, 7pm

Thursday 19th May – Full Council, 7pm

Tuesday 24th May – Overview and Scrutiny, 7pm

Thursday 9th June – Cabinet, 7pm


All meetings take place at the Civic Centre, Tannery Lane  at 7pm unless otherwise stated.

What's On

What's On

Invicta Singers Choir Concert

Saturday 14th May, 7.30pm
St. Teresa’s R.C. Church, Ashford

The Ashford Invicta Singers are putting on a packed programme of cheery tunes including songs from the musicals, rock and roll hits plus some old favourites. All proceeds from the evening will go to the Pilgrims Hospices. Tickets cost £10 each and are available from the Ashford Hospice reception, on the door on the night or by calling 07513 591122.

Artigras festival

Friday and Saturday 20th - 21st May, 10am - 5pm
Creative Collective, Park Mall , Ashford

Join local artists, crafters, musicians, dancers and art lovers for a fantastic two-day festival in th heart of the town centre. Both days will also be packed with live performances from Invicta Jazz Orchestra, Ashford Folk, Orfila, TheatreTrain Ashford and Liv2Dance to name a few. The free festival is being hosted by local art business, The Creative Collective.

Celebrate the Kent Heritage Trees Project

Saturday 21st May, 11am - 3pm
Singleton Environment Centre, Ashford

Help celebrate the success of the Heritage Tree Project with lots of fun, free events the whole family can enjoy. Take part in guided walks and workshops including Tree ID, pond dipping and build a bug wall. For more information email

Pound away the pounds!

Every Thursday, 7.30pm - 8.15pm
The North School, Ashford

Pound is an intense workout that combines constant drumming, with body conditioning, and pilates to create a total body workout that gets the heart racing. You will need to bring a mat or towel if you don't want to lay on the floor. Booking is advised.

Exporting is great

Friday 27th May, 10am - 3pm
Stour Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford

Calling Ashford businesses – learn how to find customers overseas for your products and services with The Export is Great Hub. They will be running workshops, giving business support and offering networking opportunities.

Come along to this informative, free-of-charge event; no need to book. For more information  contact or phone 0330 300 013.

Clay sculpture workshop

Tuesday 24th May, 10am – 3pm
Godinton Gardens, Godinton Lane, Ashford, TN23 3BP

Join professional artist Brenda Burgess to explore the qualities of clay sculpture. Suitable for all levels of ability from beginners wanting to have a go, to experienced artist wanting to try a new medium. Small class sizes ensure plenty of time with each student. For more information visit Brenda Burgess Arts

Curry making workshop

Wednesday 25th May, 6.30pm - 8pm
Dobbies, Ashford

Taste the colours of India. Learn the art of making fast, easy and delicious Indian recipes. Proceeds will help Find a Voice in supporting people with severe speech and communication needs. Tickets cost £15  per person. To book your place call 01233 640443 or email

Celebration of Marriage throughout the years

St. Margaret’s Church, Hothfield, TN26 1EL
Saturday 28th and 29th May, 10.30 am – 5pm

Now’s your chance to see original wedding dresses from the last six decades and admire floral displays. Visitors can also enjoy refreshments and homemade food in the Pop Up Café. Admission is free and there’s no need to book.

Cycle Circle bike checks

Saturday 4th June, 10am - 2pm
Goldwyn College workshop. Norfolk Drive, TN23 4FB

If you're a keen cyclist, pop down to Cycle Circle to get a free bike check. You can also take part in a handy workshop on how to fix your bike, plus pick up a bargain bike at a special ReCycle bike sale. 

Ashford Farmers' Market

Sunday 5th June, 10am - 2pm
Ashford Town Centre, lower High Street, Ashford

Join us for another fabulous farmers' market which will be brimming with local producers selling their fresh , home grown produce. There will also be live music and entertainment as well as stalls to browse and buy from.

Free fitness boot camp

Every Saturday from 11th June to 16th July, 10am - 12pm
North Park, Tannery Lane, Ashford

Get in shape for summer with this challenging but fun boot camp for all abilities delivered by the fitness team from The Gym, Ashford. Incorporating cardiovascular and resistance exercises the workout will blast body fat and tone muscles. Minimum age 16 years and pre-exercise questionnaire must be completed prior to exercise. Be sure to bring some water and wear comfortable clothing and footwear.

Pyjama Walk

Saturday 25th June, 10pm
Ashford Designer Outlet, Ashford

Help support a good cause, have some fun and get fit with the Pilgrims Hospices Pyjama Walk. The walk starts at the Ashford Designer Outlet at 10pm.  Early bird registration is £10 for adults and £5 for under 16’s and this year all walkers will receive a free memory lantern to personalise and display on the route. Sign up online via Pilgrims Hospices. To fundraise simply create your own page at Just Giving and shout about it via email or social media. 


Contact Us

Contact Us

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 

Online: Pay, report, apply online at

Want to make a payment over the phone? Phone 01233 330625

Main switchboard: 01233 331111

Open times:  All face-to-face enquiries should come to the Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford

The opening times are: 9am to 4pm Mon to Fri Out of hours/Emergency: 01233 629911

24 hour payment line: 01233 330625

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

Town Centre Action Team (T-CAT)

Email: Twitter: @ashfordcouncil #tcastashford

Phone: 01233 331111

Customer Contact Centre     Open times: 9am to 4pm Mon to Fri

Ashford and Tenterden Gateway

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

Telephone: 01580762558

Email: Online:

Write: Tenterden Town Hall, Town Hall, 24 High Street, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6AN

Telephone: 01580 762558 

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

Fraudline (benefit fraud) 0800 026 2456

Taylorfitch. Bringing Newsletters to life