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Film studios linked to Netflix and Amazon Prime in Ashford could be home to art facility run by East Kent College

A college is eyeing a new creative arts facility on the site of an upcoming film studio complex in Ashford.

Bosses at EKC Group, which runs Ashford College in the town centre, have told an Ashford Borough Council meeting about their plans to occupy a building at the Newtown railway works studios.

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

The bold Quinn Estates-led project will include four film stages and an 18-storey hotel, with top names like Netflix and Amazon Prime showing interest in the plans.

During a meeting of the Ashford strategic delivery board, EKC Group CEO Graham Razey discussed the scheme with members.

According to minutes, he gave a presentation in which he highlighted a local board which had been set up to further develop the college in the Ashford borough.

The minutes note "the college was also looking to establish a site on the former Newtown works development, particularly in respect of creative arts".

"He [Mr Razey] said there was a need for the college to be in a position to provide technical and vocational training to support local industry."

Work on the Newtown site started in the summer
Work on the Newtown site started in the summer

Mr Razey claimed funding would be sought from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, which is a business-led partnership between local authorities and private sector businesses.

Council leader and strategic delivery board chairman Cllr Gerry Clarkson (Con) offered the council's support in driving through such a project.

It is not known in what capacity support would be lent by Ashford Borough Council, which has the development of Ashford College among its 'Big 8' strategic projects.

In a statement, Mr Razey said: “We’re passionate about ensuring the right skills are being developed within the community we serve so that employers have a pipeline of future talent, and our students have the skillset they need to progress directly into employment should they wish to do so.

"We are always seeking out new opportunities to embed our education provision directly within areas likely to become significant employment sites, and developments such as Newtown works could play a key role in unlocking student potential whilst allowing the local economy to flourish.

East Kent College CEO Graham Razey
East Kent College CEO Graham Razey

"We always work closely with partners, and should we move forward in this, would expect to do so in collaboration with stakeholders in the development.”

A spokesman for Ashford Borough Council said: “As one of our original Big 8 projects, the council is keen to support the college to expand its educational provision in Ashford, whether that be at the existing site in Station Road or at any future premises at the Newtown Works site.”

Mark Quinn, boss of Quinn Estates, did not wish to comment at this time.

In the summer, preparatory works started on the 12-acre spot after ABC gave planning permission in April.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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