Located on the site of Ashford’s former Victorian railway works, Newtown Works is a £250m mixed-use regeneration project. Centred around state-of-the-art TV and film production space, the development is set to support 2,000 new jobs and create a new hub for the creative industries, which will benefit from Ashford’s connectivity to London and Europe.
Newtown Works will breathe new life into the Grade II listed locomotive sheds, which will be transformed into apartments, workshops and a new Kent Film School, in partnership with local further education institutions. The project will also include the building of a 120-bed hotel, a roof-top restaurant and a multi-storey car park.
The granting of planning permission by Ashford Borough Council in April 2020 represents the culmination of over three years of work by the project’s lead developer Quinn Estates. The Kent-based company worked with its funding partner U+I and operator The Creative District Improvement Company (TCDICO) on plans. Newtown Works has been designed by prominent local architects, Hollaway – the masterplanners behind Curious Brewery and Elwick Place.
CEO and Chairman of Quinn Estates, Mark Quinn, said: “Newtown Works truly is a landmark project for Ashford and the surrounding area. The opportunities in terms of job creation and attracting new, creative businesses to the borough are now more important than ever.
“Ashford has changed a lot over recent years and as a company it’s been great to play our part in that. We will continue to be part of the town’s story of regeneration through the Newtown Works project. We will be taking a site that has been abandoned for several decades and transforming it into one of the most exciting and ambitious projects in the UK.”
“Newtown Works truly is a landmark project for Ashford and the surrounding area. The opportunities in terms of job creation and attracting new, creative businesses to the borough are now more important than ever.”Mark Quinn, CEO and Chairman of Quinn Estates
The project has an overarching ambition to create a new hub in Ashford for those working in the TV, film production and related industries. Several notable streaming and production companies have already shown an interest in the project. With planning approved, work on delivering the project has begun, with 2022 the target for launching Ashford International Studios.
Founders of TCDICo, Piers Read and Jeremy Rainbird, explain how the location of the development is key: “Ashford has quick and easy travel links to both London and Europe, making it the perfect location to attract productions from across Europe and build ties even after Brexit. Kent also has an incredible array of film and TV history and accounts for 45% of all location filming in the South East, so it needs a production hub.
“In addition, its brilliant educational institutions allow us to bring our own learning facility to Newtown Works enabling us to create skilled workers and produce jobs. Newtown Works will create a new era for growth in Ashford’s economy.”