Published: 10:12, 20 February 2020
| Updated: 16:34, 20 February 2020
Ashford town centre is now home to 26 hairdressers following the arrival of a new business close to the churchyard.
HD Barbers in Middle Row took over a unit last month, which was previously earmarked for a wine bar.
Barber shops are one of the most common sights around the town, with some residents criticising the lack of variety.
Of the 26, Bank Street alone has eight within a stretch of 180 metres while the High Street has four.
While there are two hairdressers in the Park Mall shopping centre, only one - ManCave - offers a site for a haircut in County Square.
One resident, Ashley Close, says the high number of barbers and hairdressers in the town centre doesn’t bother him.
“If the barbers are busy and making money then then so be it,” he said.
“Look on any high street and it’s services like this that are busy. Items can be bought online and delivered… a haircut can’t.
“As the population grows, these type of business will expand and keep popping up.
“People should be applauded for starting their own business and making their own money, not whinged at.
“I see so many people complain about barbers, coffee shops, charity shops, but people must use them to keep them in business.”
However, Quantock Drive resident Angela Lines opposed this view, saying: “There are too many – same as cafes. Bring back shops we can browse around. It will keep the high street alive and browsing leads to sales.
“We’ve certainly lost our nice market town we used to have.”
Senior staff at the Hair Academy, which also has a branch in Folkestone and trains hairdressers from across the South East, did note a rise in the number of barbers in recent years.
Kay Hopkins, training manager at the Ashford branch in the churchyard, said: “I love seeing people in business and people having choice as to their preferred hairdresser.
“There’s been a lot more interest in training and now people want short, sharp training courses.
“Nowadays, the industry is focussed on delivering an all-round experience.
“They want somewhere that offers something different and memorable.”
This has been seen recently when Edge launched in Castle Street in September, a hairdresser that uses only organic and vegan products.
When asked about the high number of hairdressers and whether it would like to see more variety, a spokeswoman for Ashford Borough Council said: “We support business in the town centre and a varied offer is critical to continue to grow the town centre offer.”