Ashford offers UK template

Posted on 31 July 2018

The Ashford Story went national this month with the Guardian reporting how Ashford Borough Council is leading the way in terms of town regeneration.

The article highlighted how the work the council and its partners have carried out has helped the town centre and the wider area thrive, using their Park Mall initiative as a template for UK success for the retail sector.

Journalist Zoe Wood writes, “After three years in council hands, Park Mall is virtually full […]. The 32-shop-arcade – with an eclectic brand mix – is on the up thanks to a programme of family friendly activities designed to pull in shoppers. Footfall is up 0.8% in the year to date, bucking a wider picture of steep declines in shopping visits across the UK, where the fall is more than 3%.”

But the Council efforts don’t stop there as Cllr Gerry Clarkson, leader of Ashford Borough Council, comments: “It’s not just about shopping,” says Clarkson, referring to council investments that include the £75m Elwick Place development, which will bring a Travelodge and six-screen Picturehouse cinema to the town, later this year. “You have got to create a civic heartbeat so that everybody is proud to live here.”

This article comes after Cllr Graham Gaplin has been appointed by High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP to join a national panel of experts on how to revive the Great British High Street.

To read the full story, visit The Guardian.