Paul Appelt, (Chamber Member), with Rt Hon John Prescott at Ashford International Station
The Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis, together with Lord Heseltine and Rt Hon John Prescott , made a whistle stop visit to Ashford International. They were greeted by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Director Richard Lavender, together with Paul Appelt of Atrium Surveyors and Tim Allen Partner of Peter Brett Associates.
During the 30 minute stop over Lord Adonis wished to receive Ashford’s views and comments regarding the introduction of the High Speed Train service to St Pancras. Richard Lavender said that the benefits of HS1 to Ashford were felt throughout the business community with local Companies taking full advantage of the reduced travel time to London. There was a resurgence in house building and commercial construction and many professional services were fully on board.
Tim Allen from Peter Brett Associates in Ashford said that he felt there would be an immediate opportunity for residential led growth – and that this would lead to a sufficient population to encourage businesses to relocate in several years time. He went on to explain that this was not necessarily a bad thing, and pointed to the way that growth had occurred along the Thames Corridor west of London. He was enthusiastic about the way that the HIgh Speed service had transformed the connections to London, and that this was beneficial to his business.
Paul Appelt of Atrium Chartered Surveyors said that he fully agreed with the statement and was seeing more local companies relocating within the area, however outside companies were making enquiries for possible future moves. He felt the Companies such as Peter Brett Associates and Scott Wilson were increasing their activities and this was due to HS1 bringing construction development business to Ashford.
The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce did express concerns regarding the non high speed service to London Charing Cross, Victoria and Cannon Street and Lord Adonis said there was another enquiry that was looking into this, but had no further information at this time.