Residents, local businesses and other stakeholders will soon be invited to comment on St Mary’s Fields, a key site in Ashford Town centre where we have been working with the council to propose ambitious plans for regeneration.
The scheme promises to help rejuvenate the town by enhancing its cultural offer, creating new spaces and better connecting the various parts of the town centre, bringing new residents into the town centre and attracting further investment for the benefit of local communities.
The scheme – which is currently being referred to as St Mary’s Fields – includes the former Odeon cinema in the Lower High Street and the Vicarage Lane car park. It is a mixed use development, aiming to deliver new cultural space with a food and drink offer, and around 230 quality homes to complement the market town’s history and heritage.
Stuart Harris, Milligan Chief Operating Officer, said: “The townscape of Ashford is evolving and this scheme has evolved to keep pace. Critically, it creates a new public realm and enhances the routes to and from the high street bringing regeneration and much needed footfall to the lower high street.
“This is high street reinvention at its best – we’re future proofing for needs that are coming to the fore as we speak. This scheme will create a deep connection with the community by giving them a mix of uses that will enrich everyday life and provide an important connection to the town’s history and heritage thanks to an architectural focus on St Mary’s church and the enhancement of the town’s cultural offer.”
The former Odeon cinema building will be repurposed to for this cultural offer, providing residents and town centre visitors with unique reasons to visit. It will also enliven the high street creating a place to visit, work and play for all the family.
The St Mary’s Fields scheme will also comprise high-spec homes which will set a new sustainable design precedent for Ashford, breathing life back into the town centre and reinvigorating a sense of pride and ownership for those living there.
Ashford Borough Council Leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson described the project as “the foundation and catalyst to the regeneration of Ashford town centre, providing a dynamic and quality environment to work, live and play”.
“The creation of a living urban community in the heart of the town centre is our vision. The St Mary’s Fields scheme is a vital ingredient in the transformation of Ashford. I believe these proposals are brave, bold and ambitious. Through our innovative regeneration strategy, thoughtful urban design and planning policy, the council shares that sense of excitement.”
Public consultation begins in August 2021.