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Jasmin Vardimon Company dance studio to be built on Henwood Industrial Estate in Ashford

By Charlie Harman

A multi-million pound dance studio is to be built on an industrial estate.

The last of Ashford Borough Council's 'Big 8' projects, the Jasmin Vardimon Company dance studio scheme breezed through the planning process with unanimous approval.

It will now be constructed on land on the Henwood Industrial Estate.

How the Jasmin Vardimon Creative Laboratory will look
How the Jasmin Vardimon Creative Laboratory will look

It is hoped the £9m development off Javelin Way will allow the world-renowned contemporary dance company - which is currently based at the Stour Centre - to expand.

The scheme is one of Ashford Borough Council’s Big 8 projects – a series of major schemes including Elwick Place that the council says will transform Ashford and regenerate the town centre.

The two-storey 'Creative Laboratory' scheme will contain rehearsal space, an administrative office for the dance company and a public café.

Jasmin Vardimon
Jasmin Vardimon

In the proposal lodged by Kent County Council in November, 29 light industrial and business units were included to "form an enabling development to generate capital/income to KCC".

Cllr Graham Galpin - Ashford Borough Council's portfolio holder for corporate property - remarked: "How lucky are we? I can't believe how fortunate we are to have a jewel in our crown like Jasmin Vardimon to improve our cultural offer.

"I'll also say that the Jasmin Vardimon Company is part of our Big 8 projects, the last to be delivered.

The proposed site is next to Norton Knatchbull School's sports centre plan
The proposed site is next to Norton Knatchbull School's sports centre plan

"This is a great opportunity to help this brilliant dance company to take on their global possibilities and it all started in Ashford."

Cllr Chris Waters said: "I want to focus on the industrial side of the application.

"We spend a lot of time talking about houses, but what we want to do is encourage a cohesive mix of industry, housing and cultural spaces in Ashford.

An example of work at Jasmin Vardimon
An example of work at Jasmin Vardimon

"I think this application absolutely ticks that box."

Council leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson was jubilant about the plan, saying: "As well as being a highly regarded dance manager, Jasmin's company has been involved with a number of local schools and actually falls into the national curriculum."

Following unanimous approval the site will now be cleared of its high density of slow worms and newts, which will be relocated to Godinton.

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