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Ashford College to give town's mosaic a new home

A forgotten mosaic which shows the history of Ashford will be installed at the town's college, bosses say.

The piece, which was made almost 30 years ago, has been without a permanent home since the former library was demolished in May 2010.

It is currently sitting in two pieces behind the Gateway building in Church Road.

How the mosaic used to look
How the mosaic used to look

Ashford College bosses say they still intend to install the mosaic at some point in the future, but cannot say when it will be moved.

It is due to go on the lawn next to the access path at the rear of the college next to the Memorial Gardens.

Emily Neighbour, from the Central Ashford Community Forum, says she is keen to see the piece on display again.

The mosaic is in two pieces
The mosaic is in two pieces

“We have been nagging various people over the years about it,” she said.

“We are very sad to think it is just sitting in a car park where no one can see it.

“We are not sure what condition it will be in now, but it could be repaired and I think there is enthusiasm there to see it out again.

“It is very attractive and something needs to be done.”

'It is very attractive and something needs to be done...' - Emily Neighbour

The mural was stored for a short time at Associate House in Upper Queens Road until Kent County Council sold the building.

It has been split into two pieces and has been stored in the car park behind the Gateway building since 2012 as a ‘temporary measure’ by KCC due to its size.

At one stage, there were talks about moving the mosaic to the Willesborough Windmill, but it never came to fruition.

Former Ashford Borough Council leader Paul Bartlett, a KCC member for Ashford Central, says he is also keen to see the piece given a new home.

He said: “It is a great shame nobody can see it.

“We have asked the college if it could incorporate it somewhere in its new development, which would be good.”

Ashford College spokesman Phil Orrell says work is progressing on the next phase of the development.

He says the foundations and piling are already in place for phase 1a, which will see an engineering block built within the existing site along the boundary with Station Road.

It will be called a ‘sustainable technologies’ block, offering courses on engineering, plumbing, electrical facilities and motorsport.

Work is expected to be completed sometime in 2019.

On the Elwick Road side of the college, bosses have an option to buy the derelict Swanton House, which is owned by KCC.

If bought, the land would become a higher education building, forming phase two of the project.

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