Published: 09:36, 06 September 2020
| Updated: 09:38, 06 September 2020
The design of an ambitious development dubbed the ‘Ashford Shard’ has been amended after councillors sent the scheme back to the drawing board.
The plan, situated on the corner of Beaver Road and Victoria Road, originally comprised 214 flats and nine townhouses as well as three commercial units.
Ashford Borough Council’s own property company, A Better Choice for Property Ltd, is behind the project, having bought the prime site from the Southern Housing Group last year.
However, comments made at a council meeting in June – during which the development was deferred – have forced a redesign and a reduction in the number of homes being built on the former B&Q and HomePlus Furniture plot.
The main 16-storey tower block still has the same number of floors, but changes have been made to other parts of the scheme, which now features seven less apartments.
Heights of the blocks surrounding the tallest, most prominent tower have been altered and bosses say gold fins on the main tower’s roof have been extended to give the structure even more prominence in the skyline.
Balconies included in the scheme have been rearranged for more architectural variety, while metal meshing that was situated around the bottom of the blocks will instead be climbing plants.
Further sustainability measures added to the original design include installing more trees and using solar panels on as much of the roofs as possible.
Flat roofs are now going to be pitched instead, capped with gold cladding, and blocks surrounding the main tower will be constructed of red brick and topped with copper-coloured cladding.
In the scheme’s revised design and access statement, designer On Architecture states: “We feel the revised proposal has addressed all major comments from the members, bringing forward a design which is more suited to its prominent location.
“The combination of reducing the height of parts of the building while raising others allows for a more fragmented architecture, which sits more comfortably within the context.
“Raising the height of the secondary tower gives this element of the building more prominence, signalling the entrance to Ashford’s town centre; while the lowering of the building adjacent to the main tower, allows more focus on the tower itself, creating architecture that is in keeping with the town of Ashford.
“Overall we believe that the amendments to the scheme following the meeting in June has resulted in a more appropriate and considered scheme.”
Meanwhile, the plot is still being cleared ahead of a decision on the scheme being taken, with only a small part of the ex-HomePlus structure now remaining.
Although not officially called the ‘Ashford Shard’, On Architecture director David Weir described the scheme last year as “not quite The Shard, but Ashford’s version of it”.
Its official name is yet to be decided.
For more information, search 19/01597/AS at www.ashford.gov.uk.