A town’s retail offer is a great barometer of confidence in a location and a measure of economic success. That is certainly true of County Square.
The centre has proved to be a showcase for success under its present ownership, bucking negative national trends for High Street shopping.
Over the past five years this 440,000 sq ft of modern retail space has seen footfall surpass six million a year for the first time in its history.
New national tenants such as JD Sports, Deichmann, Metro Bank, Smiggle and The Entertainer have joined regional brands like Simmons Jewellers with a number of existing occupiers expanding space.
Location is, of course, everything with the predicted growth of Ashford - the third growing population in the south east - leaving County Square perfectly placed to meet future customer demand.
Anchored by a flagship Debenhams store, County Square has been able to attract and retain a diverse range of national retailers, including Waterstones, Superdrug, Peacocks, Next and H&M.
It’s close proximity to recent developments, including Ashford College and the first phase of the Ashford Commercial Quarter will also be an important contributor to footfall going forward.
“We’ve been creating a better place for locals and visitors to enjoy and that momentum continues every week. The council’s ambition and our investment is delivering.”Alasdair McInnes, Asset Manager, Kennedy Wilson Europe
Alasdair McInnes is Asset Manager with Kennedy Wilson Europe, which bought County Square in 2013 in a joint venture with Värde Partners. He has no doubt that their investment, combined with the council’s ambition, is helping to create a better place for locals and visitors to enjoy.
“Since buying County Square we have worked closely with Ashford Borough Council and fellow key stakeholders such as Stanhope, McArthurGlen and Quinn Estates to breathe new life into the town centre,” he says.
“We have been spurred on to invest in the scheme with a drive to create a diverse mix of retailers which matches the ever growing community needs of Ashford.
“We’ve been creating a better place for locals and visitors to enjoy and that momentum continues every week. The council’s ambition and our investment is delivering.
“In our view, the future is bright. We’re extremely excited by the ongoing investment in the town, including the leisure development at Elwick Place, which will drive additional footfall to County Square and provide a much needed injection to the evening economy.
“Add in the new Curious Brewery, the ongoing regeneration of Park Mall and planned new homes, we see Ashford continuing to go from strength to strength.”