Published: 08:42, 10 June 2021
| Updated: 08:42, 10 June 2021
Construction of a 400-flat development near Ashford town centre is set to finally begin later this month – almost five years after the plans were approved.
Workers have started to clear two sites in Victoria Road as part of a multi-million pound project that first surfaced as early as 2005.
Approved by Ashford Borough Council in November 2016, the plots make up part of the former Powergen site but have sat untouched since the plans were given the green light.
Now, developer Kings Crescent Homes has put architectural practice InkDrawn in charge of the first phase which will see 143 flats built on the site closest to Victoria Park.
Called ‘The Triangle’, bosses say they hope to begin marketing the homes in the second half of this year.
They plan to have the whole development – including 257 flats in phase two on the other side of Victoria Road – completed by 2023.
Cllr Dara Farrell (Lab) – who represents the Victoria ward on Ashford Borough Council – says he questions whether people will move into the development, which does not feature any affordable housing.
He said: “Ashford’s whole premise has been based on being a good place for commuters, but with the way the world is changing and with people working from home a lot more, you do wonder if people will come here.
“I think the council should encourage developers to build more family homes in the borough – this development is purely flats.
"They will point to Chilmington Green, but it would be nice to see more in the town centre.
“I'm not over the moon about work starting, but it is good to see a brownfield site being used.”
Construction of the first 143 flats – which will cost £35m – is expected to begin in mid-June.
Nick Harvey-Jones, co-founder of Kings Crescent Homes, said: “We’re extremely pleased to have acquired this site, which occupies a key strategic position in the town and is identified as an area of high growth.
“With excellent connections and easily commutable to central London, we’re confident the mix of apartments will have widespread appeal.”
The whole scheme features one, two and three-bed units as well as studio flats.
Following delays, residents started moving into the ‘Riverside Park’ scheme during 2019 but not all of the blocks have been completed.