A £55 million scheme for a new supermarket, 216 homes, a brewery and a visitor centre on a brownfield site near the town centre was given planning permission by Ashford Borough Council on Wednesday 19 October.
Property regeneration company U+I had acquired the six acre Victoria Way site located opposite Ashford International train station from the Homes and Communities Agency. The development consists of an 18,500 sq ft Aldi supermarket with 93 parking spaces, creating more than 60 jobs. Chapel Down will open a brewery to expand sales of its award-winning Curious Brew brand together with a visitor centre including a shop, restaurant and bar. Brewery tours will add a new dimension to the Kent town’s bustling leisure scene.
Plans include 200 built-to-rent apartments, made up of 48 studio flats, 52 one-bedroom homes and 100 two-bedroom apartments. There will also be a separate block of 16 flats to be built above three retail units.
Ashford planners heard that it’s anticipated that the development will attract ‘millenials’, potentially appealing to those working in London and commuting via the nearby Ashford International train station. Councillors were briefed the development will provide £50 million worth of economic growth to Ashford over the next ten years, with £3.8 million additional revenue spent by residents in the town each year.
Meanwhile, an application by U+I for a 125-bedroom hotel on the same site will be considered by Ashford’s planning committee at its November meeting.
Richard Upton, Deputy CEO of U+I, said: “We’re really pleased to have planning approved on our second development site at Ashford. The town’s thriving local economy, great transport links and the council’s ambitious regeneration plans make it an important and growing ‘Huburb’ within the London City Region.
“As an established regeneration partner, we are looking forward to working with the council to deliver high quality housing to meet the needs of the local community and help create desirable new places people can truly enjoy.”
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “This development is yet another sign of Ashford’s investment potential. We welcome the plans put forward by U+I which, along with several other projects coming to fruition at the moment, will change the face of the town centre in the coming years. Next year a new college campus will open, work starts on site next month for a new office block as part of our commercial quarter and plans for a town centre cinema were recently approved – this really is an exciting time for Ashford. “This state-of-the-art brewery and visitor attraction on the corner of Victoria Way will transform this part of the town centre and will become a real draw. With all these exciting developments coming forward, I’ve no doubt that Ashford’s dynamic growth is set to continue apace.” Frazer Thompson, Chief Executive of Chapel Down, said: “We are delighted to be playing a part in creating a more exciting Ashford. By building an iconic new brewery in the heart of the town, we hope it will not only create jobs and wealth in Ashford but be a source of pride and inspiration for the town.”
* In June U+I was granted planning permission for a new mixed-use regeneration project at the old Powergen site in Victoria Way. It will be delivered by U+I, in partnership with developer Quinn Estates and specialist private rented sector operator, Neighbour. It includes 660 new homes, new public realm and a café built on a brownfield parcel of land that has lain derelict for a decade. The residential units will consist of one, two, and three-bedroom flats and 25 houses designed by award-winning architect, Guy Hollaway, plus 400 apartments delivered by Neighbour.
For more information about economic development in Ashford visit www.ashfordfor.com