Ground breaking moment at Commercial Quarter site

Work on an iconic building, which symbolises Ashford’s enterprising approach towards economic development and growth, has begun.

Adjacent to Ashford International Station and opposite the impressive new Ashford College campus that will welcome its first intake of students this September, the first phase of the Commercial Quarter (CQ 38) is under way.

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, as well as Mark Quinn, Managing Director of Quinn Estates and George Wilson, Chairman of George Wilson Holdings Ltd, were present on site earlier this morning to mark the start of the project.

Maximising the advantages of its location, just 38 minutes from London and under two hours from Paris, the priority regeneration project, granted planning permission in August 2016 and established as one of the council’s Big 8 strategic projects, will become a dynamic new business hub for the South East, crucial in delivering the future economic development of the borough.

This particular new office space is significant as it is indicates the high level of confidence in Ashford’s Commercial Quarter, which is shared by both parties. This is another example of influential Kent-based developers working with Ashford Borough Council on its journey from a traditional local authority to an entrepreneurial, commercially-minded business.

The first phase of the Commercial Quarter will see 80,500 sq ft of exceptional and adaptable office space developed, along with retail and restaurants on the ground floor and additional car parking and landscaping. In total, 590,000 sq ft of office space and 150 homes will be delivered within the quarter, with the emphasis on quality and job creation.

The buoyancy of the Ashford economy is highlighted by the pre-lets for the first phase that have already been agreed. International House, which the borough council purchased in 2014, is already providing a strong return on investment, highlighting both the need for such space in this area of the town centre, as well as the shrewdness of the council’s initial acquisition of the landmark building. Cllr Clarkson said:

“The Commercial Quarter makes a strong statement about the borough’s economic position, our can-do attitude as an authority, our sharp commercial focus and the confidence key businesses and developers have in the borough.

“I am confident it will be a catalyst for delivery of jobs and opportunities that our international town of Ashford needs. This is a key strategic site, which has been earmarked for development for some time. Yet it is only since the council acquired it and undertook its own master planning and marketing that this proposal has come forward.”

Mark Quinn said:

“It’s great to finally get started on this fantastic project – the biggest office development to be started in the last decade – that will help take Ashford to the next level, boost economic growth, enhance facilities for residents with improved public space and, most importantly of all, create of a range of new jobs.”

George Wilson said:

“The start of work on the Commercial Quarter is something that’s been talked about for some time. It’s great to get construction underway. For us as a company it’s a really important project, in a prime location that will create hundreds of jobs.”

For further information on the opportunities available within the Commercial Quarter please contact Senior Commercial Development Manager Stewart Smith at Ashford Borough Council on 01233 330328 or