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Ashford Town Centre Partnership scrapped

By Robert Barman

Council funding has been withdrawn from Ashford's Town Centre Partnership to pay for a new Town Team manager.

Ashford Borough Council announced its decision yesterday (Wednesday)
to redirect the money to the Town Team, created as part of the Portas
Pilot project bid in 2012.

The new £35,088 appointment is currently being advertised by ABC as a
high level role that will provide strategic support specifically for projects that boost and benefit Ashford town centre’s economy.

David Church, chair of the Town Centre Partnership, said of the decision: “This is not a time for town centres to stand still, with the ever changing economic environment that high streets are working in.

"It is critical that in these times of austerity, we make strategic
investments in our town’s long term future and that businesses have a
stronger voice in influencing positive changes within their town centre.”

The new full time manager’s role will be focused on providing expertise and strategic support for the Town Team, and will be funded solely by Ashford Borough Council and not from the Portas Pilot funding pot.

ABC lead member for economic development Cllr Graham Galpin added:
“While we are sad to hear of the closure of the TCP, this is not the end of an era but the start of a new one.

“Directing this kind of resource into a new structure for the town centre’s development is a big step forward, and we are pleased that local business representatives are on board with these exciting changes.”

For the full story, see next week’s Kentish Express

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