Work can get under way on redeveloping the former Rimmel factory site at Cobbs Wood Industrial Estate, Ashford, after Ashford Borough Council granted planning permission to Gallagher Properties Ltd.
At least two hundred jobs can now be created on the site, which has been derelict for nearly a decade after it was destroyed by fire. It is close to the high speed rail line and not far from junction 9 of the M20.
Gallagher Properties, based in Maidstone, acquired the five-acre site late in 2015 from the Homes & Communities Agency, and this represents the company’s first property venture in the Ashford area.
Nick Yandle of Gallagher Properties said: "The approved plans include a grounds maintenance depot for Ashford Council, a ready-mix concrete plant for Gallagher Aggregates and 70,000ft2 of industrial warehouse units.
"The grounds maintenance depot is already under way, to be closely followed by the ready mix concrete plant. The precise make-up of the industrial development is yet to be finalised following a review of the market, although it seems certain it will include some starter units of around 1,000ft2.
"The decision sends a very positive message that Ashford Council is keen to promote employment opportunities and bring forward modern, new business premises in the town to support the growing local population.
"This site is well located and can now be redeveloped to meet market demand for construction materials and new commercial properties. Development opportunity in the Maidstone area is unfortunately impeded, so it makes sense for us to spread our wings and cover a wider area."
Cobbs Wood Industrial Estate is a well-established industrial employment area and Gallagher Properties will now provide new employment space in a modern, well-designed development.
Construction work has already started on site and will be carried out in phases over the next couple of years.
Commenting on the plans, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: "We are pleased that this site will be brought back into use and welcome these sustainable construction jobs.
"Ashford is the number one business location in Kent and this endorsement of Ashford’s success in encouraging investment and economic growth should emphasise to all that our borough is a real draw to significant stakeholders.
"I see similarities between the way that we and Gallagher Properties do business – innovatively, proactively and professionally – and I hope that this is a public-private partnership that can flourish in the long-term.
"As with all projects, this has involved officers and members from across the council, notably Neil Shorter from a financial perspective and Clair Bell in terms of landscape management. This is how committed this administration is to delivering on our corporate plan."
Gallagher Group employs more than 300 people in Kent, and has carried out construction work in, and supplied construction materials to, the Ashford area for many years.
Head Office address:
Gallagher Group, Leitrim House, Little Preston
Aylesford, Kent ME20 7NS
Gallagher Aggregates Ltd., Hermitage Quarry
Hermitage Lane, Maidstone, Kent ME16 9NT