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Ashford facing damaging development

Plans to demolish three historic buildings in Ashford to make way for a new college campus will harm the whole town, according to the Victorian Society.

The Society wants councillors to think twice before giving the green light to a scheme to build a £20 million campus on the corner of Elwick Road and Station Road. It follows news that planners at Ashford Borough Council have recommended the controversial campus plans for approval.

This is despite the fact that two of the buildings earmarked for demolition lie inside a Conservation Area and have been highlighted as being of 'distinctive local character' by the local authority.

Swanton House dates from the late nineteenth century and Kent Care House is Edwardian, both are in good condition with attractive gables, wooden sash windows and clay tiles. The former South Kent College, thought to date from the 1930s is also at risk.

K College claims these buildings can't be adapted to a new use or integrated into the site.

'Such a claim simply doesn't stand up, these buildings are robust and in good condition, and take up only a small part of the proposed campus site', said Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'The houses also hold a prominent position at the entrance to Ashford and their loss would have a significant impact on the town.'

The Victorian Society, The Ancient Monuments Society and SAVE Britain's Heritage have all registered strong objections to this damaging scheme.

Ms Brown added: 'Historic buildings like these are a finite resource that once lost can't be replaced. The proposed demolition of the Elwick Road houses is unnecessary and extremely wasteful.'



Thursday 15 September, 2011

More recent item: A unique group of Victorian buildings under threat in Stockport
Earlier item: Plea to council to save historic Manchester hospital

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