Elwick Place Opening

Posted on 23 November 2018

With work nearing its conclusion at Elwick Place, fuller plans for the public to get their first glimpse of the new part of their town centre are being released. Celebrations for this milestone will begin on Saturday 15th December with a community event planned as the hoardings come down.

Local five year-old schoolboy Henry Rowles will hold the key to Elwick Place and assist Ashford Borough Council’s Leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson in officially launching the development for the town at 10am.

The original market gateposts, hidden from view since the sixties, have been lovingly restored by Stanhope PLC who have developed Elwick Place on behalf of Ashford Borough Council. The gate posts will return to their former home at Elwick Place for the general public to enjoy, forming an important part of the local heritage of Ashford and the surrounding area. The fixed steel gates fitted between the historic posts are a contemporary piece of artwork.

An official launch for the Elwick Etchings initiative will then take place. Kent public arts company, Strange Cargo, who Stanhope commissioned to create a unique artwork that delivers a lasting historic legacy in this new town centre hub, has orchestrated the project. The scheme caught the imagination of the town, seeing more than 100 stories and reminiscences from old and young engraved into slabs that will remain in the ground for generations. Ashford’s Mayor, Cllr Mrs Jessamy Blanford, will formally unveil the etchings and the authors of each story will be invited to see their words immortalised in granite within the pavements of Elwick Place.

The free event will run from 10am until 1pm and promises live swing music from the Folkestone Community Swing Band and children’s arts and crafts activities, as well as a chance to see the Elwick Etchings in their new home for the first time.

The new Picturehouse Cinema, complete with 6 screens a bar and restaurant, and Travelodge are due to open as part of the first phase of Elwick Place on the same day. Discussions are continuing with a number of independent operators hoping to open in 2019, complementing the cinema and hotel in this new quarter of Ashford town centre.

The community will be at the very heart of this initial opening event, as they should be, with their stories forever told in the new walkways of the town.

Gary Bourne, Director of Stanhope PLC

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said:

“The restoration of the old market gateposts and their inclusion in the public plaza is an important reminder of Ashford’s position as the market town of Kent. While Ashford continues to develop as a thriving business hub for the South East we must never forget our heritage as a leading centre of agricultural and rural business life.

“I’m also delighted to see the Elwick Etchings initiative come to life. Ashfordians embraced the opportunity to leave a lasting mark on the scheme by sharing their stories and I look forward to reading them.”

Gary Bourne, Director of Stanhope PLC adds:

“We are proud to have reached this milestone in opening the Elwick Place development to the people of Ashford. The community will be at the very heart of this initial opening event, as they should be, with their stories forever told in the new walkways of the town. It is an honour to have Henry taking the role of key holder to the town’s new leisure scheme and we hope Ashford will be there to cheer him on.”

Zoe Snazelle, an author of one of the Elwick Etchings who told her story about the fun she had going to school in Ashford in the 1980’s, comments:

“I am thrilled that my story has been included in this project and so excited to attend the launch of the Elwick Etchings on December 15th to see it in its permanent home for the first time. Elwick Place will provide a new hub for Ashford and it feels so positive that it is the stories of the people of Ashford that adorn the ground here.”