Strategic Projects

The borough has a rich heritage but is also embracing growth with its ambitious plans for the future. The large-scale developments, called the 'Big 8', collectively are major projects which emphasise this ambition, illustrating how the council intends to unlock major opportunities, while delivering new jobs, housing, retail and cultural facilities.

Our major projects are:

Commercial Quarter

Commercial Quarter along Station RoadThe commercial quarter is a mixed-use development that will maximise the advantages of its location. It will be the dynamic new main business hub in the town, next to the domestic and international railway stations.

It will stimulate major investment opportunities, creating several hundred jobs, up to 590,000 square feet of office space and 150 apartments.

The council has agreed to work with local developers Quinn Estates Ltd and George Wilson Holdings Ltd on bringing this forward. Phase 1, a 80,500 sq ft office block, opened in spring 2018.

A new public realm around International House and along Dover Place is now complete, creating a sense of place, forming an attractive and unmistakable first impression of the town.

Junction 10a of the M20

Aerial images of Junction 10aThe future development of Ashford has depended on new motorway junction capacity – specifically J10a of the M20.

The government's decision to fund the long-awaited junction will be a catalyst for economic and commercial development in Ashford, creating job opportunities and improving the infrastructure of the town.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has secured substantial funding from the Government to help deliver the junction.

Work is underway with completion expected in 2020.

Elwick Place

Artist impression of Elwick Place at nightPlanning permission was granted in December 2015 for a town centre cinema offer with places to eat and drink around a new square and meeting place for the town centre.

This first phase of the Elwick Place development opposite County Square will help to bring extra vitality to the town during the day and evening. The Picturehouse cinema and Travelodge Hotel opened in late 2018, with the retail units expected to be filled in due course.

The town centre cinema will complement the IMAX cinema at the Eureka Leisure Park at J9 of the M20.

For more information visit the Elwick Place website.

Designer Outlet expansion

Artist impression of the Designer OutletThe expansion of the outlet centre has the scope to further Ashford's international appeal, while creating stronger links to the station and having an offer that complements the town centre with different, significant retailers.

The McArthurGlen-planned large expansion would look to create the next generation of designer outlet, reflecting the quality of its flagship McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in Continental Europe and attracting up to 7 million visits a year.

The planning application was approved by the council in September 2015. Work started in January 2018 with the expansion expected to open in autumn 2019.

For more information visit the McArthur Glen Ashford Designer Outlet website.

Chilmington Green

Artist impression of Chilmington Green (Discovery Park)Outline planning permission was granted in October 2014 for a major new residential community that, subject to further planning consents, will see the development of up to 5,750 quality homes.

There will also be schools and infrastructure, including major dualling of the A28, and the creation of over 1,000 jobs on the site in shops and education etc. in the next 20 years.

Chilmington Green is key to meeting the borough's need for extra homes and nearly 10 years of careful planning points firmly towards a high quality, carefully planned development.

There is a real commitment to delivering the best at Chilmington Green with a charter, outlining 32 commitments to making a quality place and vibrant community, agreed to by developers. Work has recently started on site.

Work is currently underway. For more information visit our Chilmington Green pages.

International College Campus

Artist impression of the Ashford College main entranceThis is a new Ashford College offering further and higher education on a new £26m campus in a key location in the town centre. The college was taken over by Ofsted rated 'outstanding' Hadlow College on 1 August 2014.

The Station Road/Elwick Road campus provides a high quality learning facility, immediately opposite the Commercial Quarter, which will help to significantly increase activity in the town centre.

The new college opened to students in September 2017 and is the first of the Big 8 projects to be completed.

For more information visit the Ashford College website.

Jasmin Vardimon Company

Image of a Jasmin Vardimon productionA project to provide more cultural space for the Jasmin Vardimon Dance Academy to expand their offer. Progress is being made on their new base on the Henwood Industrial Estate where they would be able to share their inspiring work with local audiences.

This renowned company tours nationally and internationally, performing at high profile venues across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US.

For more information visit the Jasmin Vardimon Company website.

International signalling

Ashford International StationProviding a signalling solution for Ashford International Station, so that the next generation of Eurostar trains can continue to stop at the station is vitally important.

A partnership of Kent County Council, Ashford Borough Council, Network Rail, Eurostar, HS1, Department for Transport and the Office for Road and Rail worked closely together to deliver the new signalling by spring 2018.