Published: 14:54, 08 June 2020
| Updated: 15:07, 08 June 2020
A developer has rescinded plans to set up an office in a controversial leisure complex.
Elwick Place houses a hotel, Ashford's only town centre cinema and eight units which were originally earmarked for cafés and restaurants.
Built by developer Stanhope PLC in partnership with Ashford Borough Council, only one eatery and a gym have joined Travelodge and Picturehouse since its launch in December 2018.
Such lack of interest has resulted in it being called a "white elephant" by the ward councillor.
A planning application was submitted in April seeking to use a unit adjoining the Picturehouse entrance as an office.
The change of use, which was set to be discussed at a council planning meeting last Wednesday, would have allowed the unit to be converted into a café or restaurant quickly if space for one was requested.
A report published ahead of the committee's convening recommended permission be granted for the additional use.
However the plan was withdrawn shortly before the meeting took place, suggesting an office may not be on the cards for Elwick Place.
The site has been effectively shut since March 24, when the Covid-19 lockdown began.
Cinemas, gyms and restaurants were specifically mentioned by Boris Johnson as needing to shut up shop temporarily.
Macknade, which joined the complex in February, has announced it will welcome customers on Wednesday.
It is not known when Snap Fitness, which opened in January, is reopening.
Elwick Place's final tenant, the Ashford International Model Railway Education Centre (AIMREC), pre-emptively closed on March 11 citing the age and health conditions of its volunteers.
It is not known when AIMREC will be reopening.
Although it is yet to open, Afro-Caribbean restaurant Dansaki is set to fill one of the units under the Travelodge.
More by this authorCharlie Harman
This website and its associated newspaper are members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)