Borough of Ashford
|Borough of Ashford|
|— Non-metropolitan district, Borough —|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||South East England|
|Status||Non-metropolitan district, Borough|
|Incorporated||1 April 1974|
|• Type||Non-metropolitan district council|
|• Body||Ashford Borough Council|
|• Leadership||Leader & Cabinet (Conservative)|
|• MPs||Damian Green|
|• Total||224.18 sq mi (580.62 km2)|
|Area rank||76th (of 326)|
|Population (2011 est.)|
|• Rank||181st (of 326)|
|• Density||530/sq mi ( 200/km2)|
|• Ethnicity||95.0% White
1.3% Mixed Race
|Time zone||GMT (UTC0)|
|• Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
|ONS code||29UB (ONS)
|OS grid reference||TR005425|
The borough was formed on 1 April 1974 by the merger of the borough of Tenterden with Ashford urban district, and the East Ashford, West Ashford and Tenterden Rural Districts. In size it is the largest council in Kent.
Although a large part of the Borough is still mainly rural, that around Ashford is undergoing a complete change, since it is fast becoming an industrial and commercial centre. The corridor caused by the M20 motorway and High Speed 1 and its railway station have led to much hitherto agricultural land being turned to other uses.
In 1801, the population of Ashford and Willesborough was 2,600; in 1861 this had more than tripled to 8,800; by 1901 12,808 and in 1961 the figure was 28,000. The census, for the wider Borough of Ashford, in 1991 showed the total number of persons as 92,331 and by 2001 it had risen to 102,661. Kent County Council's mid year estimated population, for 2004 is 107,700 showing substantial continued growth in the size of the town, the most growth in Kent. The County Council's population forecasts for 2011 and 2016 are 119,600 and 129,000 giving an increase of 25.2% since 2001. Ashford Borough Council predicts that the growth will continue to rise to 141,100 by the year 2021.
The 2001 Census reported Ashford as having:
- 41,450 households
- 70% of residents describing their health as 'good'
- 27% of 16-74 year olds having no qualifications
- an unemployment rate of 2.4% of all economically active people aged 16–74
Local government 
Ashford Borough Council performs only adequately overall.
There are 43 electoral wards in the Borough; 18 of those serve Ashford town; the remainder the outlying villages. The Conservative party has held control of the council for much of its history, apart from periods where no party had a majority, and recently has had a majority since the 2003 election. After the latest election in 2011 the council is composed of the following councillors:-
|Year||Conservative||Ashford Independent||Labour||Liberal Democrat||Independent|
There are two town councils in the Borough: Ashford itself, and Tenterden.
There are 39 civil parishes within Ashford District. They are:
The area, once mainly rural, is now fast becoming an industrial and commercial centre, particularly where the town of Ashford is concerned. The corridor caused by the M20 motorway and High Speed 1 and its International Station have led to much hitherto agricultural land being turned to other uses. The town is very much in the news due to plans to double its urban population (currently approx. 60,000) over the next 30 years, with new housing planned in areas around the town such as Cheeseman's Green.
From the town centre, roads radiate to Charing and Maidstone (A20/M20), Faversham (A251), Wye and Canterbury (A28), Hythe and Folkestone (A20/M20), Hamstreet, Lydd and Hastings (A2070) and Tenterden (A28).
In 2010 Ashford Borough was found to be the worst local authority for recycling in England, with just 15% of waste being recycled. Recycling boss at Ashford council, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, said: "I think it's brilliant in the sense that we can only go up."
- Ashford Local - A website about Ashford Borough in Kent