Ashford’s success celebrated in The Daily Mirror

Posted on 30 January 2019

Writing in the Daily Mirror, journalist Ruki Sayid looked at Ashford’s high street success in the past year.

Her article analyses the different elements that have allowed Ashford to thrive despite the current retail context, leading to town centre footwall soaring by 27% in December.

It also highlights the Council’s bold actions, including developing the multi-million-pound leisure complex with Stanhope - Elwick Place – and buying Park Mall shopping centre in 2015.

“Ashford Council bought [Park Mall] for £823,000 from its French owner and revamped it and encouraged independent businesses.”

Park Mall in Ashford
Park Mall, in Ashford

The Council implemented a strategy to attract independent businesses and regenerate the shopping centre. Ruki comments, “New independent traders taking on shops in Park Mall were offered free rent for up to a year and opened their books to council finance experts, so they paid fair rates depending on how the business was shaping up.”

This has allowed retailers to establish themselves and gain traction within the town before starting paying rent, and Emporia Fabric and Craft and Made in Ashford are just two of the stores mentioned in the piece.

Across from Park Mall sits another shopping landmark – County Square, which is home to national brands, such as River Island, Pandora and JD Sports, offering shoppers big name brands.

“The flourishing main mall complements the smaller one with the Council ensuring there’s no conflict between the town.”

“New independent traders taking on shops in Park Mall were offered free rent for up to a year.”

Ruki Sayid, Daily Mirror

Supporting the retail environment and creating a cohesive town centre experience, Ashford Borough Council has been busy putting on events to attract people in the town centre and the article cites Ashford Farmers’ Market, Create Festival and the Ashford Snowdogs arts trail.

Read the full article on the Daily Mirror’s website.