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Ashford Designer Outlet overflow car park closed due to flood risk

A shopping centre closed its overflow car park amid concerns about flooding.

Shoppers at the Ashford Designer Outlet were unable to use the new car park next to Asda on Thursday, which only opened a few months ago as part of the centre's huge expansion.

A sign has been put up by Ashford Designer Outlet declaring the car park closed
A sign has been put up by Ashford Designer Outlet declaring the car park closed

The edge of the car park, which borders the River Stour, was lined with sandbags as many areas in the adjoining Newtown neighbourhood were hit by flooding after torrential rain on Wednesday.

Attenuation ponds - designed to fill in order to curb flooding - surrounding the Designer Outlet car park filled up.

Despite the lack of surface water in the car park itself, bosses made the decision overnight to close it.

A social media post on the closure attracted widespread condemnation of the fact it's built on a flood plain.

An underpass next to the car park has been completely cut off by water
An underpass next to the car park has been completely cut off by water

One commenter, Josh Jarvis, said: "So the old car park was reduced and more shops built (still lots empty) and now the new car park is closed for potential flooding... so now there's a multi-million pound shopping centre with very limited parking at it's most busiest/lucrative time of the year... great business sense that was."

Some have pointed out that as the sign has already been made, they were aware that flooding was a possibility ahead of time.

Others are saying it makes sense to build a car park on a flood plain as it is one of the most low value land uses.

The River Stour runs alongside the car park, and has caused flooding across the Ashford area
The River Stour runs alongside the car park, and has caused flooding across the Ashford area

The closure - which was lifted on Friday - meant shoppers had to use the internal car park.

Ashford residents have long been concerned by building on flood plains, as was evidenced in a petition against the proposed East Stour Park development - which could be built opposite the Designer Outlet.

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