Published: 10:54, 08 February 2020
| Updated: 10:55, 08 February 2020
A top hotel chain has finally confirmed it will be moving into Ashford town centre by the end of the year.
A Hampton by Hilton hotel has been in construction on the corner of Victoria Road and Beaver Road since December, but the firm has only just confirmed it will run the site – despite rumours circulating since May 2018.
Plans for a 120-room building were submitted five years ago, with a council decision to approve the proposal coming in November 2016.
But minor amendments demanded by the planning process and applicant – including the addition of 20 extra rooms – saw the plan’s final changes agreed on last month.
This week, a spokesman for Hampton by Hilton confirmed the 140-room, six-storey building is due to open in December, creating 25 jobs.
The chain – which will face stiff competition from the nearby Travelodge at Elwick Place – plans to start recruiting in September.
When the scheme was originally approved, Ashford Borough Council’s (ABC) planning committee debated the appearance of the building’s initial designs.
Cllr Bernard Heyes (Con) raised fears over the “hideous yellow cladding” on the outside, which he said reminded him of the Travelodge in Maidstone.
But Cllr Graham Galpin (Con) – who lost his seat by just one vote in last year’s local elections – said at the time: “This is an important keystone to the south of the town, and will be part of a new generation of railway hotels.
“I’m sure some of us have stayed in the tired old railway hotels in the past, but this site is along a 21st century railway line, with a 21st century station, so it will be a 21st century hotel.”
Hampton by Hilton – part of the famous Hilton Worldwide group – is one of the UK’s fastest growing hotel chains, offering mid-market accommodation.
Part of the so-called Victoria Point project, the hotel will be sited alongside 216 apartments being built by developer Elevate Property Group.
The £55 million project will envelop the BP petrol garage in Beaver Road and seeks to attract visitors and house-hunters through its close proximity with the Ashford International Station and, consequently, London.
The area around the Beaver Road and Victoria Road junction has seen a heavy amount of construction over recent years, with the hotel forming an important part of the ‘Victoria Point’ jigsaw.
The Curious Brewery, owned by Tenterden winemaker Chapel Down, opened last May after a year-and-a-half of construction work.
In August 2018, Aldi opened its first Ashford supermarket only 150 metres away from the upcoming hotel.
Finally, ABC’s property company, A Better Choice for Property, purchased the land on which HomePlus Furniture currently sits and has announced plans to turn it into a 16-storey tower block and town houses – a project that’s been dubbed the ‘Ashford Shard’.