These statements establish the architectural heritage of the village and identify how development, if any, needs to be handled. House prices are also a major problem in rural areas, and there have been growing problems with people moving away from villages to find employment or housing elsewhere. The danger of this is that villagers become increasingly deserted during the week as people buy second homes. To redress this, the council has worked closely with Registered Social Landlords to provide ‘local needs housing. The council remains committed to ensuring that development throughout the Borough is in keeping with the area’s heritage.
The council has continued to promote, however, a great deal of innovation in development too. This has meant encouraging increased energy efficiency and providing ways of getting around which do not depend exclusively on the private car. A key factor in the plans for growth is the creation of an attractive town centre which people choose to visit.
Key work already begun includes re-development of land on Victoria Road to provide a range of housing, hotels and conference facilities and negotiations to develop a new department store as part of the County Square shopping mall. These projects form part of a wider vision for the town which also includes finding ways to stop the ring road acting as a constraint on the town. Over the next year, Thermal Imaging Inspection the council and its partners will complete and publish their vision for the town centre and begin to introduce changes that make Ashford a more prosperous town for all.
To deliver the vision of Ashford’s Future, it is important for the council, its partners and the community to know when key projects and schemes will happen. Producing a Master Plan means we can have a focus for our own efforts and those of our partners in ensuring a successful outcome for the town. The council, together with its partners, has already prepared and submitted bids to the Government for nearly £70 million. This money will be used to begin to set the foundations for growth including acquiring a number of sites necessary for growth. The council’s key focus remains ensuring that housing growth is matched by growth in employment and the necessary infrastructure to ensure growth remains sustainable.