Funding boost for Ashford International Studios at Newtown WorksPosted on 10 November 2021
Ashford Borough Council has warmly welcomed the Government’s decision to award £14,773,745 of Levelling Up Funding for the Ashford International Studios, Newtown Works project.
The council submitted the bid in June 2021, identified as one of the borough’s strategically important projects in our draft Corporate Plan 2022-24. Our bid was supported by Damian Green MP, alongside the partners of the Ashford Strategic Delivery Board. Support also came from SELEP, Kent Film Office, KICC, Screen South and the EKC Group.
The planning application for the site was fully permitted in September 2020. The developer Quinn Estates is working with the council, alongside The Creative District Improvement Company and Time + Space Studios, as well as with the EKC Group to bring forward the studio space and new educational facility.
The site has been vacant since the mid-1980s due to the challenges in remediating the site and the high costs associated with converting the 37,179m2 of Grade II Listed buildings. The funding will address these key barriers to delivery, and also enable the delivery of a Digital Industries skills and education centre to support local people taking up new job opportunities in the Ashford International Film and TV Studios.
Ben Geering, Development Director at Quinn Estates said: “It’s excellent news that Ashford Borough Council has secured funding from the government’s Levelling Up Fund; it’s an endorsement from the Treasury for Ashford International Studios.
“The funding is for investing in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and investing in cultural and heritage assets. This decision has the potential to make lasting improvements to the Ashford economy and a community asset with circa 2,000 new jobs at the heart.”
Graham Razey, chief executive officer for EKC Group, said: “We’re exploring the various curriculum opportunities we could deliver within the development, as part of a real marriage between industry and education, ensuring the community we serve gets the skills they need. This funding will help take this new project another step forward.”
“This strategic project will deliver a key economic driver for Ashford and Kent, much needed inward investment for the UK and will regenerate a nationally important railway heritage site.”Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “This strategic project will deliver a key economic driver for Ashford and Kent, much needed inward investment for the UK and will regenerate a nationally important railway heritage site.”
Ashford MP Damian Green said: “It’s great news for the future of the town, and shows what we can achieve when we all pull together. It supports reclamation of the site, the conversion of the listed buildings and delivery of college provision alongside the film studios.”
Council officers engaged with the Department for International Trade throughout the process, leading to the Department supporting our Levelling Up Fund bid. DIT have also placed it in their new UK Investment Atlas, an online platform highlighting 53 strategic investment opportunities, designed to help global investors identify and execute high priority investment across the UK.