Published: 15:21, 14 February 2020
| Updated: 16:13, 14 February 2020
A furniture shop which has operated for 15 years is to close next week - with bosses blaming motorway roadworks for a "devastating downturn" in business.
Ashbury Furniture, which runs out of the Ashford Retail Park, will shut its doors for the last time on Monday.
Company directors say work on the nearby Junction 10a scheme has caused trade to drop, forcing them to call it a day.
Established in 2005 as Ashford Bed Centre, the company expanded to become Ashbury Furniture in 2007, renting the entire 15,000 sq ft premises in which it has been trading.
But in a joint statement, the store's directors Dominique and Nicholas Hanson said: "With a heavy heart, Ashbury Furniture will be closing its doors after 15 years of business.
"Unfortunately, prolonged and continued M20 Junction 10a roadworks have caused a devastating downturn in trade in the last three years, combined with increased rent and business rates.
"The family business could not continue trading."
A closing down sale is currently running and joint administrators Vincent Green and Mark Newman from Crowe have been appointed to handle the administration process.
Mr Green said: "Ashbury Furniture has been providing high quality furniture to customers across Kent and beyond for a number of years.
"As joint administrators we have offered advice regarding the options available to them having regard to the trading difficulties encountered.
"As a consequence there was little alternative but to place the company into administration.
"While challenging trading conditions have rendered it difficult for the business to continue to thrive, there is little doubt that Ashbury Furniture will remain highly regarded by peers and customers."
When asked for a response by KentOnline, a Highways England spokesman says work on the £104m Junction 10a, which opened in October, is due to finish later this year.
He said: "Our scheme to improve Junction 10a of the M20 will improve safety and relieve congestion around the existing Junction 10 and thus reduce queues forming on the slip road, which often extend back onto the M20.
"It will improve journeys and open the door for further economic investment for communities in the area, which is part of an international route widely used by freight and holiday traffic.
"We expect the scheme to be completed later this year, with landscaping work finishing early next year.
"In order to improve Junction 10a of the M20, we have had some closures of the A2070.
"These have typically been done overnight, to minimise disruption, while maintaining access provision for those who need it."
Since work began on Junction 10a, drivers have faced closures of the A2070 as contractors worked to install the new Church Road footbridge and reworked the layout of the road.
The spokesman added: "When closing the A2070 to demolish the old Church Road bridge and install the new one over full weekend closures, alternative diversion routes were provided.
"We have notified those affected by our works in advance of any closures, detailing diversion routes and the closures to local businesses.
"We have also held public information exhibitions to provide further information on our work and the chance to talk with the team.
"We consulted with local businesses and stakeholders before work even began on site and placed additional signage has been placed on the A2070 stating the Barrey Road retail park is open as usual.
"Our work are carefully planned to ensure construction could be as efficient as possible, while also minimising disruption.
"Our traffic management experts ensure that traffic movement is maintained throughout the scheme."
More by this authorCharlie Harman