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Huge apartment block set to built on HomePlus furniture shop site in Ashford

By Dan Wright

A huge 16-storey apartment block with a bar and restaurant on the top floor could be built near a town centre, KentOnline can reveal.

Bosses at Ashford Borough Council’s development company - A Better Choice for Property Ltd - plan to knock down the town's large HomePlus store in Beaver Road to make way for the bold new scheme.

They bought the prime 1.75-acre site from the Southern Housing Group earlier this year and hope to build 223 homes - made up of apartments and houses - as well as 1,250 sq m of commercial space.

How the development could look overlooking Ashford International station
How the development could look overlooking Ashford International station

HomePlus Furniture - which has four shops in the county - is owned by businessman Martin Rose, who says there is no set date for when the store will close but confirmed he is “looking at a number of sites in Ashford” to move to.

He says the business is currently continuing to trade as normal from the ex-B&Q site.

When ABC bosses bought the spot earlier this year, the purchase was described as a multi-million pound deal, but it is not known how much the authority paid for the plot.

The HomePlus store will be demolished to make way for the scheme
The HomePlus store will be demolished to make way for the scheme

The busy junction is already surrounded by developments, with Chapel Down’s brewery having opened last week and a Hampton by Hilton hotel set to go next to the BP petrol station on the other side of Beaver Road.

Bosses have dubbed the area ‘Victoria Point’.

A Better Choice for Property Ltd chiefs will detail their plans at a public consultation this afternoon.

How the 16-storey apartment block could look
How the 16-storey apartment block could look

As well as the 16-storey apartment block, bosses say the 1,250 sq m of commercial space at street level facing Beaver Road will create an “active frontage” along the site’s western boundary.

They also propose a landscaped ‘quad’ for residents in the centre of the development, as well as offering a 1:1 parking ratio.

The ‘destination’ bar and restaurant will go over the 15th and 16th floors of the apartment block.

The store - pictured here on November 1982 - was previously a B&Q. Picture: Steve Salter
The store - pictured here on November 1982 - was previously a B&Q. Picture: Steve Salter

The consultation will run from 3pm to 8pm at the Stour Centre today (Thursday).

A model of the initial scheme for the site will be on display.

A planning application is expected to be submitted in the summer, council bosses say.

Inside HomePlus, which is run by Martin Rose. Picture: Steve Salter
Inside HomePlus, which is run by Martin Rose. Picture: Steve Salter

In 2014, ABC set up the A Better Choice for Property Ltd company to buy buildings it could then let out.

Chiefs say the company helps to generate new income to pay for council services.

Last month, ABC bought the Matalan store in Brookfield Road in a £5m deal and also snapped up the derelict Swanton House site in Elwick Road earlier this year.

The HomePlus shop is continuing to trade as normal for now
The HomePlus shop is continuing to trade as normal for now

For more details on the HomePlus public consultation, email info@dhaplanning.co.uk

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