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A new cultural offer for Ashford town centre


Above: CGI from MICA of rooftop cultural space on the repurposed Odeon building, part of the mixed use development at St Mary's Fields, Ashford for developer Milligan and Ashford Borough Council



MICA Architects is working for Ashford Borough Council to develop ambitious plans for St Mary's Fields which will help to rejuvenate Ashford town centre.


This is a strategic project within wider town centre plans, and will involve the development and delivery of cultural and performance space, over 200 homes and a significant quantum of public realm and landscape. St Mary’s Fields promises to help rejuvenate the town by enhancing its day and night-time cultural offer, bring new residents into the town centre and attract further investment for the benefit of local communities. MICA says its approach 'embraces the challenge of embedding a design into its context; in developing a robust framework that respects key routes, reinforces existing street edges, and creates new spaces for both new and existing communities, and reflects the existing local character, identity, and culture of Ashford.'


It also says that bringing the town centre into the site is a driving principle behind opening up views to local landmarks and enhancing links to the High Street through improved pedestrian connections, and that the development will set a new design precedent for Ashford which is 'future-ready and sustainable'.


MICA states: 'The former Odeon cinema building will be repurposed to provide the town with a modern cultural venue and its art deco façade will be retained and refurbished. At their heart, these proposals mark an exciting new chapter for Ashford. They are designed to create a fresh and exciting place for all of Ashford’s residents to visit, work and play and safely enjoy with their families and friends. 'The team is working to create opportunities for meaningful engagement events with key stakeholders, including cultural organisations and local businesses, and the wider public.'


Director Stuart Cade will be joining our 'New Districts' forum in the City of London in January, with Somerset House Trust, TfL, Urban Catalyst, the Corporation of London, and Hadley Property Group - among others.


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