Showcasing the Growth of Ashford for 2023

Posted on 23 October 2023

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Azets delivered The Growth of Ashford Economic Development Seminar for 2023 on the 13th of October.

Around 70 business leaders learnt about potential opportunities and heard an update on the key local developments, as well as new ventures coming to Ashford.

Among the guest speakers were, Damian Green (Ashford MP), Jo James (Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce), Tracey Kerly and Tom Jenkins at Ashford Borough Council, Peter Corr (McArthur Glenn Ashford Designer Outlet) and Susan Bonett (Ashford College).

Ashford Borough Council gave an update on a variety of projects including its Super Six Projects which is a set of strategically important infrastructure projects comprising: Brompton’s proposed new HQ, South Ashford Garden Community, Ashford College Phase 2 expansion, Ashford Town Centre Reset, and updates on the Ashford International Studios at Newtown Works.

Atendees at the seminar

The Council announced a number of new schemes to support businesses in the borough including:

• The Ashford Town Centre Business Grants with funding up to £10,000 to support companies opening new premises in vacant shops in Ashford town centre.

• The Ashford and Tenterden Visitor Economy Programme; a collaborative initiative between Visit Kent and Ashford Borough Council designed to support the development of new visitor experiences that showcase the incredible local produce available in the Ashford and Tenterden area.

• The Ashford Borough VCSE Support Programme, delivered by Social Enterprise Kent, which is dedicated to fortifying Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise leaders within the Ashford Borough’s community.

Attendees also heard updates on the progress of the broadband and digital connectivity improvements happening within across the borough.

The Council is currently in the process of reviewing its Local Plan and its strategic approach to growth in the borough to 2041. As part of this, those with potential land available were reminded to consider submitting available sites as part of the Call for Sites for the Local Plan Review which will close on 20th November.

Lastly, everyone was invited to show their support by signing the Eurostar Petition to bring back the international rail service from Ashford International to the continent as well as announcing the launch of the Eurostar Business Survey.

Attendees also heard from Damian Green MP who provided a strategic view on key topics for the Ashford Borough, Peter Corr who updated on the Ashford Designer Outlet’s performance so far and Susan Bonett described how Ashford College is and will continue to support local employers and skills development.

The seminar concluded with a Q&A session where attendees quizzed the speakers on a number of topics from local transport to the future of the high street.

The event was a great success and the AshfordFOR team look forward to reporting back next year with even more updates.

To find out more about all the updates above please contact us.