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Ashford named best place to do business in Kent according to Locate in Kent study, taking the crown from Maidstone

By Chris Price

Ashford has been named the best place to do business in Kent, according a new study.

Excellent road and rail links to London have helped the town wrestle the crown from Maidstone, which topped the poll the last time it was conducted in 2010.

Two-thirds of those surveyed said they liked the town’s proximity to Europe and the capital, along with its location and available sites.

Ashford town centre. Picture: Countrywide Photographic

The research was commissioned by Locate in Kent, the agency which tries to encourage businesses to move to the county.

It involved interviews with developers, investors, property agents, architects and other advisers across the South East, both who have and have not considered relocating to Kent.

Ashford Borough Council leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson said: “This study proves what we already knew – that the advantages of locating your business in Ashford outweigh any other town in Kent.

“It is great news and will help us in our efforts to drive economic growth, boost employment and generate greater prosperity for all our residents.

New international trains will pull into Ashford after funding for a signal upgrade was approved

“We are not complacent about the size of the task facing us in achieving the economic growth we are all striving for.

“We shall examine the results of the study very carefully to see what we can learn and apply these to continually improving the area as a place for business.”

Almost three in five people said Ashford has improved as a business location and the majority think it will continue to improve.

The town has also just been included in KCC’s Expansion East Kent scheme, offering interest-free loans to businesses looking to expand and create jobs.

Dozens more stores are set to open at Ashford Designer Outlet

The market research was carried out by Ashford-based Facts International, a finalist in this year’s Kent Excellence in Business Awards, the KEiBAs.

Locate in Kent marketing and research director Mandy Bearne said: “This survey gives us a good understanding of what people think about Kent and areas of Kent as a business location, so that we can fine-tune our marketing effort accordingly.

“It is good to know that about 70% of respondents think Kent is a good place to do business, and that the majority of respondents think both Kent and Ashford will become even better over the next five years.”

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