Elwick Place plans approved by Ashford Borough Council

Exciting multi-million pound plans to transform a vacant brownfield site in the heart of Ashford town centre into a boutique cinema, family hotel and restaurants and cafes were unanimously approved last night (Wednesday 16th December) by Ashford Borough Council’s planning committee.

This flagship 2.6 hectare (6.42 acre) site, opposite Debenhams, was originally part of the location of the town’s cattle market and will deliver new leisure facilities that will transform the town’s night-time economy.

Leading UK developer, Stanhope PLC, announced plans in July for a £75 million investment and following a positive public consultation they submitted their proposals to the council.

Phase one of Elwick Place includes:

  • A six screen, circa 900 seat cinema
  • A circa 60 bed family hotel to support Ashford’s growing tourist economy
  • 8 restaurant/bar spaces to attract the country’s best-loved dining experiences
  • Circa 280 new car parking spaces
  • Attractive public space and landscaping

The development is likely to generate around 250 new jobs.

A second phase, which consists of up to 200 apartments, will be considered by the planning committee in early 2016.

Leader of Ashford Borough Council, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, said: “We are delighted to see these exciting proposals move one step closer. A town centre cinema, set around a new square with places to eat and drink, will be a real draw and will help to bring extra vitality to the town centre during the day and evening. The old historic market gates will be incorporated into the landscaping to reflect a part of our history.

“It complements the major investment that has already taken place in the County Square Shopping Centre and Elwick Road shared space project, and is yet another example of the private sector seeing the opportunities that Ashford can offer.

“In a few years’ time the town centre will look very different, with a new college being built, the Designer Outlet being extended and the office development in our commercial quarter moving forward. This is another part of the puzzle and shows Ashford is the place to invest and we are creating an exciting location to live, work and enjoy life.”

Gary Bourne, Director at Stanhope, said: “We are delighted that the Committee voted to support their officer’s recommendation and grant planning permission for Elwick Place.
“The scheme represents over £75 million of investment into Ashford town centre and includes a new six-screen boutique cinema, a new family hotel, restaurants and cafés, car parking and space for events and community uses. We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with the Council and community, during the construction of the scheme.”