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Ashford the smart choice for a fulďŹ lling future

“There are few towns in England that can boast such excellent transport links, ongoing public and private investment, and continued house-building and job creation through tough economic times. Ashford is a place with wonderful natural heritage and a vibrant growth plan, making it a very exciting place to live and work in right now, with a bright future ahead.” DAVID EDWARDS, HOMES AND COMMUNITIES AGENCY

“Ashford offers us excellent transport links, particularly the convenience of the high-speed rail link. The luxury of space, access to a skilled workforce and the combination of high-quality premises and value for money are also huge attractions. The town is undoubtedly the smart choice for any business, with a continued focus on delivering benefits for the companies located here.” DAVID GARDNER, EUROSTAR

“Moving to Ashford has given us the quality of life we were missing in London – we have more room for less money and fantastic countryside on our doorstep, while still being just 37 minutes away from London by train. With all that Ashford has to offer, we’re looking forward to bringing our children up here.” RICKY SHEPHERD, 27, ASHFORD RESIDENT

Ashford Best placed for business



Contents: Ashford map Best placed for opportunity Best placed for connections Best placed for business Best placed for shopping Best placed for living Best placed for countryside Best placed for leisure Best placed for environment Looking to the future

02 - 03 04 - 05 06 - 07 08 - 09 10 - 1 1 12 - 13 14 - 15 16 - 17 18 - 19 20 - 21 Ashford best placed


KEY: Town Centre New road Existing road network M20 motorway Train line SmartLink River Stour Southern Expansion Quarter Commercial Quarter

Major development projects in progress Change is happening fast 02

Ashford best placed

www.ashfordbestplaced.co.uk Ashford best placed


Best placed for opportunity You’re looking to live, work or invest in a town that’s connected, thriving and growing. Somewhere prosperous and inviting, with a palpable sense of optimism and a buzz about the future, and where quality of life and great value are second nature. Take a fresh look at Ashford. The smart choice for a fulfilling future. In the heart of Kent lies a changing Ashford. A vibrant, expanding town with traditional values and a firm grasp of the future. A community and an economy in the midst of transformation and growth. A new force for business in Kent and the South East. A town with new communities, good schools, arts and culture, and a rapidly growing business community. Ashford represents a smart move for anyone looking for a new place to live, work or do business. Ashford is the new hub for business in the South East – the gateway to the continent, and a new economy for the region, with superfast connections to London and the cities of mainland Europe. And, with a population forecast to double in size over the next 20 years, Ashford is the fastest-growing town between London and the continent.

With exciting residential, commercial, retail, transport and leisure developments in progress, and an ambitious £2.5 billion development strategy that will create 31,000 desirable new homes and 28,000 new jobs by 2031, Ashford is enjoying a sustained programme of improvement, prosperity and growth. A multi-million pound town centre redevelopment – including the largest shared-space development in the country – is helping transform Ashford into an inviting, vibrant and sustainable town that combines the needs of its residents with exciting commercial opportunities for investors. Ashford is a place where people feel happy and secure about the future, for themselves and their families. Relocating your family or business to Ashford is a wise move – will you make the smart choice? Think you know Ashford? Think again.


Ashford best placed

Ashford - is the fastest growing town between London and the continent

Ashford best placed



Ashford best placed

Best placed for connections Ashford is brilliantly located to give businesses a valuable competitive edge. A thriving town at the heart of the region’s transport network, it has unparalleled links to London, the rest of the UK, and the continent, providing easy access to over 360 million customers throughout Europe. However you prefer to travel, Ashford is perfectly

If it’s air travel you need, Ashford is just 90

positioned to get you to your destination. The town

minutes’ drive from Heathrow and one hour from

benefits from excellent road, rail and air links – and

Gatwick. Alternatively, you can change at Stratford

thanks to an ongoing programme of investment,

– just 30 minutes away – on the high-speed line for

they’re improving all the time.

Stansted or London City.

The new high speed rail service to London St Pancras

Ashford benefits from an ever-improving public

means you will be in the capital in 37 minutes,

transport network, plus well-maintained footpaths

cutting travel time in half. And with two super-fast

and cycle routes for low-carbon commuting. The

trains leaving Ashford International every hour, the

town’s bus services are being expanded to provide

service isn’t just quick, it’s convenient, too.

efficient, reliable connections to new development

It’s just as easy to develop your European business connections – take the Eurostar from Ashford International, and you can be presenting in Paris within two hours, brokering in Brussels in 90 minutes, or liaising in Lille in under an hour. If you prefer to drive, the Eurotunnel departure point at nearby Folkestone offers a travel time of just 35 minutes to Calais, while the port of Dover is 30 minutes’ drive.

areas, while SmartLink, a new fast, regular bus service to be phased in from 2012, will connect residential communities with key employment areas, the town centre and the high speed station. Meanwhile, a major programme of investment and improvement in the town’s road network is helping to make city congestion a thing of the past. Ashford is really going places. Come and join us.

Artist impression of proposed M20 footbridge



London St.Pancras

37 mins

London Stratford

29 mins


57 mins


90 mins


120 mins


Ashford best placed


Best placed for business If you’re looking to relocate or upgrade to give your business the edge, Ashford is a wise choice. With highly competitive salaries, huge savings on office rents, and a large pool of skilled labour – and benefiting from unrivalled connections to the capital, mainland Europe and the rest of the UK – it’s the ideal location for successful businesses looking to thrive in an ever-competitive marketplace.


Ashford best placed

Cost savings can mean the difference between

further two million square foot of state-of-the-art

Ashford boasts a talented and skilled workforce.

business success and failure. Employee costs

office development planned. Ashford’s thriving

The town has a working population of over 46,000

average 20% less than in London and 10% less

economy is built on a foundation of affordable land

employees, with one million adults of working age

than in the rest of the South East. Coupled with

prices and readily available development

living within an hour’s drive, and around 70% more

office rents around 68% lower than London, 65%

opportunities. Average office rents are just £172m2

‘wealthy executives’ than the national average.

lower than Paris, and 21% lower than other towns

(£16ft2), compared to £551m2 (£51ft2) in central

in the South East.


The town currently has 16 established business

A highly sophisticated and super-fast fibre optic

businesses, including Brakes, Coty Rimmel UK Ltd,

parks – including the successful, high quality Eureka

broadband network is currently under

Eurostar, Hitachi, and Givaudan (formerly Quest

Business Park, where recent lettings cost just

development for the town, which will result in

International UK Ltd).


world-class telecommunications technology for

Add up these factors and one thing is clear: Ashford

businesses and residents alike.

represents one of the best investment opportunities


And there’s massive growth

potential, with over 345 acres (140 hectares) of commercial development sites available, and a

Around 5,000 thriving companies are already based in Ashford, ranging from SMEs to major global

in the UK. Make the smart choice, and come and be part of it.


Metre Sq.

Sq ft








Tunbridge Wells

































London City



Ashford best placed


Best placed for shopping Ashford’s vibrant shopping malls and inviting town centre satisfy all tastes. From the extended County Square to the strikingly designed Ashford Designer Outlet, you can enjoy a pleasant and relaxed shopping experience.


Ashford best placed

Ashford’s County Square shopping centre

Ashford Designer Outlet houses over 80 brands

underwent massive redevelopment in 2008,

– including Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Fat Face,

doubling in size, and is now home to a large

Lacoste, LK Bennett and Kurt Geiger – and offers

Debenhams department store, as well as many

designer labels at discounted prices.

major retailers, including Marks & Spencer, Next, Jane Norman, H&M, New Look, HMV and Waterstone’s.

Ashford offers a wide range of places to eat and drink, as well as ample inexpensive parking. Three park and ride schemes planned for the

Ashford’s high street offers an inviting mix of

town will provide 2,800 additional parking

your favourite brands and independent retailers,

spaces, and will connect the town centre,

housed in charming medieval and Georgian

Ashford International station, and the Ashford

buildings in the town’s historic core, while Park

Designer Outlet.

Mall combines modern mall shopping with a traditional courtyard feel. A thriving café culture gives the town a welcoming, cosmopolitan feel.

And when it comes to the weekly shop, Ashford

Ashford’s high street offers an inviting mix of your favourite brands and independent retailers

offers the full range – from value supermarkets to a brand new Waitrose.

The Ashford Designer Outlet is one of Europe’s most stylish shopping destinations. Designed by architect Lord Richard Rogers, it is conveniently located near the town centre, and adjacent to Ashford International station.

Ashford best placed


Best placed for living With property prices a third lower than in the capital, a positive welcoming atmosphere, exciting leisure facilities, and a quality of life unmatched by city dwelling, Ashford is a great place to live. And with another 26,000 new homes to be built by 2031, Ashford will soon offer one of the widest and most exciting choices of housing in the UK.


Ashford best placed

Ashford is an exciting place to live. A town with

much further. Where you can afford to enjoy

Add the benefits of living in a growing town to

a thriving community, with quality schools that

life, live more… do more. Where you can

the sense of wellbeing that comes from being

produce results higher than the national average,

experience the best that life has to offer.

surrounded by the great outdoors, and the

and with five universities within an hour’s drive. An inviting town, with room to grow, parks and open spaces in which to play and explore, and an extensive network of cycle routes and footpaths linking residential communities with schools, the town centre, railway station, and growing employment areas. Ashford is an affordable place to live. House prices are a massive 28% lower than in London, and 14% cheaper than the South East average. A prosperous place, where your money goes so

Ashford is an inclusive place to live. A caring town, with a diverse range of facilities for all ages. With excellent healthcare and social care facilities, community halls, and quality primary and secondary schools. With an active voluntary sector, supporting everything from health and

overriding feeling of being connected. Connected to the buzz of the capital city, just 37 minutes away by train. Connected to the cultural delights of Europe, just 35 minutes via Eurotunnel. And just two hours from the romance of Paris, via Eurostar.

social care to charity fundraising and environmental change. Ashford is a safe place to live. A town with the best success rate for crime reduction in the UK, and where incident rates are one third lower than the national average.

Ashford best placed



Ashford best placed

Best placed for countryside Ashford may be a prosperous, thriving business centre, but the town is located in the heart of the Garden of England, within easy reach of the beautiful Kent countryside and coastline. With picturesque villages, historic buildings, open fields and woodland on your doorstep, it’s easy to escape to the countryside and make the most of your leisure time. Ashford’s green spaces help give the town a feeling

The town offers many outdoor cultural and leisure

of serenity and calm. Our many parks and recreation

activities throughout the year, as well as art displays

areas enhance quality of life, and provide room to

– and, of course, these open spaces provide a vital

breathe. Stroll hand in hand along the riverbank,

habitat for wildlife.

take a bracing walk, have an impromptu kick-about with friends, or simply relax and enjoy a good book while the kids play hide and seek.

You don’t have to go far to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area. Romney Marsh, designated areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Kent Downs to the north, and High Weald to the south,

Our many parks and recreation areas enhance quality of life

picture-perfect villages, hop gardens, oast houses, and the coast are all within a short drive.

Ashford best placed



Ashford best placed

Best placed for leisure That elusive work–life balance can be hard to achieve, but Ashford has all you need to live life to the full. The town’s outstanding leisure facilities are the perfect antidote to the pressure of long hours and deadlines. From its multi-million pound redeveloped leisure centre to the vibrant arts community, Ashford is a place where keeping fit and having fun are part of everyday life. It’s the wise choice for a healthy lifestyle. Ashford has some of the best leisure facilities in

than 5,000 visitors each year – while Eureka Leisure

the South East, including the prestigious Stour

Park boasts Kent’s largest multiplex cinema and

Centre (leisure centre), with its new 25-metre

leisure complex.

swimming pool and state-of-the-art fitness suite, and the Olympic-standard Julie Rose athletics stadium, a stunning venue offering a diverse range of activities, quality facilities, and an all-weather, international-standard 400-metre running track. A multi-million pound investment scheme is helping to create a vibrant town centre that combines modern shopping malls and pedestrianised streets with first-class leisure facilities and attractions that complement and enhance the town’s heritage. By late 2010, a sensitive expansion programme will

Keen walkers can enjoy Ashford’s many historical footpaths, including the North Downs Way, Pilgrims Way, the Stour Centre Valley Walk, the Greensand Way and the Saxon Shore Way. Further afield, you can take your pick from a range of attractions and leisure facilities, including the 18-hole Chart Hills Golf Club, designed by Nick Faldo, the Rare Breeds Centre in Woodchurch, and the award-winning Chapel Down Wines vineyards in Tenterden.

welcome a new central arts venue for the town,

With so much to do, combined with the therapeutic

within the historic setting of St Mary’s Church.

benefits of the beautiful Kent countryside, living in

Concerts, performances, festivals and exhibitions take place all year round – including Create, the

Ashford provides an optimism and quality of life that inner-city living can’t match.

free one-day music festival, which attracts more

Ashford best placed


Best placed for environment A caring approach to the environment is firmly on Ashford’s agenda. A strong commitment to sustainability and the environment puts the town in front when it comes to an optimistic outlook.

Ashford believes in smart solutions for a better,

using local and recycled building materials, and

brighter future. We’re working hard to encourage

harnesses biodiversity, sustainable energy

responsible, sustainable growth and development

production, and methods of recycling water.

within our town, and to harness renewable energy

The centre serves as a multipurpose venue and


educational resource for local schools and

Under our carbon-neutral policy, all new developments in the area have to offset their

Meanwhile, a multi-million pound investment and

CO2 emissions with initiatives such as tree-planting,

a five-year plan are helping to improve Ashford’s

energy efficiency projects, and renewable energy

water supply, and to tackle waste water and flood


risk by implementing sustainable drainage systems.

We’re using ecological footprinting to measure the

The introduction of improved transport links –

environmental impact of our growing population,

including cycle paths and park and ride services – as

and to balance and manage that growth with

well as new homes and offices incorporating energy

respect for the earth’s natural resources.

and water saving measures, will all contribute to

A new, award-winning venue, the Singleton Environment Centre, opened in 2008. It was built


Ashford best placed

community groups.

lower carbon emissions and a thriving, healthy environment in which to live and work.

We’re working hard to encourage responsible, sustainable growth and development within our town, and to harness renewable energy technologies

Ashford best placed



Ashford best placed

By 2031, 31,000 new homes and 28,000 new jobs will have been created in this growing, prosperous town. And exciting change is happening right here, right now, as new infrastructure to support Ashford’s growing population is developed. Here are some examples of the changes and developments taking place over the next few years. ....................................................................................................................................

2010 > > > > > >

Start of improvements to Ashford International station forecourt area. Work starts on Victoria Way, a new road linking the station with south Ashford. Improvements to Junction 9 of the M20, and nearby Drovers Roundabout begin. Masterplanning for a new commercial quarter in the town centre. Completion of works to improve Ashford’s water supply, including a mains pipeline from Bewl Water.




2011 > > Opening of a new arts and performance space in the town centre’s historic St Mary’s Church. > Planning approval for Elwick Place, including 27,000 square metres of commercial, retail and leisure facilities, as well as 300 homes. > Opening of Gateway Library Plus – an improved library, register office, and new educational and community facilities.


> Start of development of new residential neighbourhoods at Chilmington Green and Cheeseman’s Green. > Opening of a new primary school at Repton Park.



2012 > > Introduction of a new fast, regular bus service – SmartLink – to connect the station and town centre with residential areas around Ashford. > Work starts on a new junction – 10a – on the M20 motorway.

2012 0

> Introduction of a new park and ride scheme. > New cycle paths will be in place. > Development of the new commercial quarter, to provide 55,000 square metres of commercial space, and 2,500 jobs.


Ashford best placed



Ashford Best placed for business


t: +44 (0) 1233 330810 enquiries@ashfordbestplaced.co.uk www.ashfordbestplaced.co.uk Printed in the UK by;adleg^ci on material made frob&%% post consumer waste; the printer and paper manufacturing are credited with ISO 14001

Produced by Ashford’s Future, Spring 2010

Profile for Ashford Borough Council

Ashford's Future Brochure  

Ashford's Future Brochure outlining main objectives for Ashford as a growth area

Ashford's Future Brochure  

Ashford's Future Brochure outlining main objectives for Ashford as a growth area