Open for business
Local residents braved the cold weather just before Christmas to catch a first glimpse of the newly-opened Elwick Place, Ashford’s new leisure quarter located on the site of the former cattle market.
The opening ceremony for the long-awaited development took place on Saturday 15 December as the new six-screen Picturehouse Cinema also opened its doors for business. Along with the new Travelodge hotel, which opened on Wednesday 19 December, the Picturehouse opening topped off the official launch of phase one of the development.
The Elwick Place community event featured a series of festivities and attractions to mark the opening of the site, which was officially handed over from developer Stanhope PLC to Ashford Borough Council as part of the ceremony. It was the second event to take place at the site during the same week, along with the unveiling of the statue of Queen Marie of Romania.
Assisting in the ceremony was five-year old Ashfordian Henry Rowles, who helped to open the development. Speeches from the Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Mrs Jessamy Blanford, and the Leader of Ashford Borough Council, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, helped underline how Elwick Place will benefit Ashford and the wider area, catering to growing demand for leisure facilities and helping to attract visitors to the town.
The event also saw the first public appearance of the Elwick Etchings, a public arts initiative commissioned by Stanhope and delivered by Kent public arts company, Strange Cargo, which comprises more than 100 memories from local residents of all ages. To establish a longstanding legacy within the local community, the memories have been engraved into paving slabs located throughout the site.
The original gateposts were also unveiled as part of the ceremony, having been restored to their former glory by Stanhope. The opening ceremony was then followed by live music from the Folkestone Community Swing Band and children’s arts and crafts activities.
Article courtesy of Redwood Consulting