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Development | News

Development: Multi-million-pound Ashford regeneration powers off the starting blocks

Contributed by editor on Jul 17, 2017 - 01:45 PM

News

 

Construction work on Elwick Place, a two-hectare brownfield development site in the heart of Ashford town centre, has begun following signing of an unconditional agreement between Ashford Borough Council and Stanhope PLC.
 



The legal agreement – that would see the local authority funding the construction of Elwick Place on land it owns – was finalised in January 2017 and is now unconditional.

The agreement to facilitate the start of works comes following confirmation that Travelodge has signed as the second anchor for the scheme with a new 58-bed family hotel. Travelodge joins Picturehouse, which will run the new 897-seat boutique cinema at the scheme. The major new mixed-use destination will also provide:

· Eight new restaurant/cafes
· A new 282-space car park
· A further potential phase of residential providing up to 200 apartments


The scheme is one element of a wider £519 million of investment in developments in Ashford town centre currently under construction or with construction expected to start within the next 5 years, building on the town’s unique position with its high-speed rail route to Central London and Europe.

Elwick Place will provide for this extensive visitor catchment, while also serving Ashford’s growing population, one of the fast growing towns in the South East, with the resident population in the borough’s catchment area expected to grow at a faster rate than the UK average, rising to 303,000 by 2025.

The investment will generate around 250 jobs, with main contractor Lendlease now also formally appointed as lead contractor, working with a range of Kent-based sub-contractors to deliver the scheme by Christmas 2018.

Gary Bourne, Development Director at Stanhope, said: “Elwick Place will be a real asset to Ashford, which will significantly enrich the offer of the town centre, particularly in the evening. Picturehouse and newly announced Travelodge will attract many new visitors and will enhance Ashford’s leisure and tourism offer, benefiting from the site’s highly sustainable location, very close to Ashford International Station.”


Elwick Place

Elwick Place will create a landmark in the town centre, designed by RIBA award-winning London and Kent architects Guy Hollaway Architects, with a striking curved structure clad in a gold coloured, aluminium mesh.

The new Picturehouse, Cineworld’s neighbourhood cinema brand, will provide a complementary offer to the IMAX proposed by Cineworld for the nearby Eureka Leisure Park. Kevin Frost, Director at Cineworld, said:

“We are pleased to be able to deliver both an out-of-town multiplex experience at Eureka Park, which will include the new IMAX and 4DX screens, and a neighbourhood cinema offer in town, complemented by an outstanding food and beverage service. We are investing in Ashford at an exciting time for both Cineworld and the town, and look forward to bringing this greatly improved cinema choice to the local community.”

John Hardy, Development Manager at Travelodge, added: “Our existing hotel at Eureka Leisure Park has performed strongly since it opened 17 years ago, so we are delighted to now be part of the fantastic new leisure scheme in Ashford town centre.

The new Travelodge will be located very close to the Ashford International railway station and, with the all of the great restaurants, shops and leisure facilities in the immediate area, this will be a superb location for both leisure and business customers.



Travelodge is delighted to be one of the anchors for the Elwick Place development and extend our investment in Ashford.”

Green & Partners acted for Stanhope on the funding and are joint letting agents with Restaurant Properties. Travelodge were unrepresented.

Ashford Borough Council Leader, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, said: “A reinvigorated Elwick Place will spring back to life over the coming months, as our partnership with Stanhope begins to deliver visible results. We are funding the construction of the development which is on our land and from which we will secure a source of income in the long-term.

"This project may well be looked upon in the future as the turning point where this local authority actually became a serious business enterprise in which all members of our population reap the financial benefit from our ambitious economic activities. The business case is robust and the benefits for Ashford are substantial.”

 
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