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Model railway museum supported by Roger Daltrey on track in Newtown, Ashford

By Vicky Castle

Designs for Ashford’s new model railway museum are making tracks and bringing the centre closer to reality.

Workers have cleared the former railway works site in Newtown in preparation for a new model railway centre to be constructed on part of the land.

A design team for the Ashford International Model Railway Excellence Centre (AIMREC) have been drawing up new plans for the site, although a formal planning application has not yet been submitted to Ashford Borough Council.

Cliff Parsons of AIMREC with one of his models
Cliff Parsons of AIMREC with one of his models

Cliff Parsons, project leader, said: “It’s not like building houses, we’ve had to go before our design council and produce many drafts.

“The council did not want any more 19th century buildings, they wanted ours to look like somewhere between the 19th century and the Designer Outlet, so we’ve had a complete overhaul. The new design is well under way.”

The model railway museum plan has high profile support from a number of celebrities, including legendary rocker Roger Daltrey.

Last year, The Who frontman confirmed he had taken on the role of joint patron of AIMREC and fully supported the old Klondyke Railway Works transformation scheme. The other patron is millionaire businessman Sir William McAlpine.

Singer Roger Daltrey is behind the plan
Singer Roger Daltrey is behind the plan

Others project supporters include musician Jools Holland and record producer Pete Waterman, both model railway enthusiasts.

Newtown’s old locomotive workshops closed in June 1962, with the main wagon works closing down in 1982.

If successful, AIMREC aims to preserve a collection of high quality model railways on the site.

The long-awaited housing development at Ashford’s old railway works is also making significant strides.

The Old Klondyke railway site in Newtown, Ashford
The Old Klondyke railway site in Newtown, Ashford

Kiercorr Property Developments was granted permission to build housing on most of the site, off Newtown Road, in 2011.

Builders have been working on phase one, which includes 108 houses and flats, along with 146 parking spaces.

The brownfield site development will accommodate 71 private two-to four-bedroom houses and 14 private flats.

There will also be 21 houses and two flats for affordable housing needs.

Newtown Works housing development
Newtown Works housing development

Ultimately, Kier group will create another 788 houses and flats, along with restaurants, pubs and leisure buildings, delivered in three more phases.

The project will include the repair and refurbishment of the two former locomotive sheds, which will be turned into a mix of commercial and residential use.

The gatehouse, clock tower and electroplating shed are earmarked for conversion into commercial use.

What do you think? Comment below, write to Kentish Express, 34-36 North Street, Ashford TN24 8JR or email kentishexpress@thekmgroup.co.uk

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