Published: 09:16, 25 November 2017
A multimillion-pound cinema and hotel complex near Ashford town centre will open at Christmas next year.
The eye-catching Elwick Place development, which is being built on the former cattle market opposite County Square, includes a six-screen cinema, eight restaurants and a 58-room Travelodge.
Contractors began work in the spring and are now in week 30 of the 86-week programme, which will be finished by December 21 next year.
Cllr Graham Galpin, portfolio holder for the town centre at Ashford Borough Council (ABC), says the project has been 15 years in the making.
“The hotel and cinema should all be open at Christmas 2018 and I am looking forward to it,” he said.
“In a year’s time, it will be one of the most exciting things to ever happen in Ashford.
“I think we are already seeing the development transform that end of town and people are becoming more confident it is going to happen because they are seeing the steel and concrete go up.”
Contractors from the Lendlease company have completed groundworks at the site and are now erecting the steel frame for the cinema.
It is not yet known which firms will be taking up the restaurants, but Cllr Galpin says the council is in negotiations about the space.
The Stanhope PLC company is behind the £75 million development, which is being built on land owned by ABC after the authority bought the prominent spot for an undisclosed sum.
Cineworld will be running the cinema as part of its Picturehouse brand. There will be a 282-space car park.
A residential development featuring 200 apartments could be also be built after the cinema and hotel.
“I think the development will be everything we have hoped and dreamed for,” Cllr Galpin added.
“We are doing our best to make sure it runs smoothly and that is what is happening.
“It has taken some terrific work to get to this point and we have every right to be very proud of it.”