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Ashford International Studios project at Newtown works given £14.7m boost from Levelling Up Fund


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Ambitious plans for film studios linked to Netflix, Amazon and HBO have been given a £14.7 million boost in the budget.

It has been announced that the proposed transformation of the derelict Newtown railway works in Ashford into 7,440 sq m of filming and production space will receive the cash from the government's Levelling Up Fund.

A view of the scheme from above, with the studios on the left
A view of the scheme from above, with the studios on the left

The £4.8 billion fund will, the government says, support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.

Ashford MP Damian Green said: "It's great news for the future of the town, and shows what we can achieve when we all pull together.

"It supports reclamation of the site, the conversion of the listed buildings and delivery of college provision alongside the film studios."

The announcement today of successful bids for financial support from the fund also included £250,000 for the George pub in Bethersden.

Prolific development company Quinn Estates gained planning permission for the multi-million pound film studios - linked to Netflix, Amazon and HBO - in April 2020.

Inside the old railway sheds, which are set to be converted into flats. Picture: Paul Amos
Inside the old railway sheds, which are set to be converted into flats. Picture: Paul Amos
A map of how the Newtown site will look
A map of how the Newtown site will look

Bosses had hoped to open the studios next year after preparatory works started last summer, but are now targeting the first quarter of 2023.

Called the Ashford International Studios, Quinn Estates will redevelop the Grade II-listed locomotive sheds for mixed commercial and residential use as part of the scheme, including workshops and 300 flats with space for a new Kent Film School.

A rooftop restaurant and a 383-space multi-storey car park will also be included in the development.

The historic clock tower close to the Newtown railway bridge will be retained at the site, which has been abandoned since the 1980s.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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