Published: 06:00, 21 August 2019
| Updated: 07:31, 21 August 2019
Plans for a five-storey car park which will be lit up at night have moved a step forward after an outline planning application was submitted.
The multi-storey complex, to be built on the current Station Road car park behind the Hollywood Bowl in Ashford if approved, will provide 500 spaces and is scheduled to open in December next year.
Despite its final appearance being decided with a future application, early concept images have been released as part of the submission.
They show how steel mesh will enrobe the structure, which will be lit at night with a variety of coloured lights including pink and green.
The same mesh has already been used on the Repton Connect Community Centre, which opened last year.
Ashford Borough Council is behind the multi-storey scheme, with bosses saying the car park will include 24 disabled spaces and 120 will feature charging ports for electric cars.
Chiefs say access to the site will remain via Station Road, with the junction widened to accommodate a two-lane exit arrangement, separating traffic turning left and right.
Currently, the existing ground level Station Road car park offers 120 spaces.
The council says the new car park will fit into the character of the area as office blocks at Kent House and Stourside Place already go over five floors.
Before he lost his seat in May's local elections, Cllr Brad Bradford (Con) had visited a newly built multi-storey in West London to understand how the car park could look.
Authority bosses say they will kit out the facility with barriers and number plate-reading cameras, allowing drivers to make payment online or using a debit card.
Crucially, motorists will only be charged for the time they park – making fines for overstaying at pay-and-display sites a thing of the past.
Cameras will register the details of vehicles entering before the barriers are raised, with motorists paying at a machine for the exact time used before leaving.
Chiefs say all floors of parking will be covered in the new structure.
Council bosses need to find more capacity as spaces will be lost in Vicarage Lane car park if the proposed redevelopment of the Mecca Bingo site goes ahead.
The council hopes to partially demolish the ex-Odeon, flattening the rear of the property and knocking through the former entrance in the Lower High Street to make a pedestrian route leading to a new public square on the car park.
The space - nicknamed Odeon Square - is set to feature a large outdoor cinema screen surrounded by cafes and bars.
To view the Station Road plans, click here and search for the 19/01112/AS application.
The deadline for public comments is Saturday, August 31.