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Building work starts at Dover Place car park in Ashford

Commuters have been told to find car parking spaces elsewhere after building work on a new town centre office block began this week.

The Commercial Quarter at Dover Place in Ashford is one of the council’s “big eight” infrastructure projects to transform the town.

The scheme is led by developer Quinn Estates and was granted planning permission last month to construct the five-storey building.

Initial preparation work ahead of the main construction phase began yesterday, and a small portion of the council owned car park will remain closed during the building work.

Car parks in Ashford could soon be ticketless
Car parks in Ashford could soon be ticketless

It will lead to the loss of hundreds of spaces at the site, which is a favourite of commuters using the nearby railway station to London

But council chiefs say other car parks at Flour Mills, Edinburgh Road and Station Road are still available, and say 200 spaces at Dover Place will also remain open throughout the construction.

A council spokesman said: “There is also ample parking across the town centre, including the Eurostar car park and other public car parks not owned by the council.”

The council has earmarked a further 180 spaces to be created by extending car parking at South Park near the Stour Centre.

The Commercial Quarter will deliver hundreds of new jobs in the new 80,000 sq ft of office space, and Quinn Estates boss Mark Quinn said it will make Ashford a serious business contender.

The new building is at the Dover Place car park
The new building is at the Dover Place car park

He said: “Ashford is undergoing a major transformation that will rejuvenate the town. Now we are taking the idea of the Commercial Quarter on paper and making it one that will be an exemplar office development.

“It will make Ashford a serious contender for businesses. We believe it will generate interest from far afield and perhaps be a target for London companies seeking to save money.”

The construction is set to continue until February 2018, and could also see the wider transformation of the whole area between Tannery Lane and Station Approach.

Kent Wool Growers (KWG) is seeking to move its premises to a new site near the proposed junction 10a of the M20 motorway, while Royal Mail could also move its sorting office, clearing the land for further business development.

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