Borough of Ashford
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|Borough of Ashford|
|Non-metropolitan district, Borough|
Ashford shown within Kent
|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 (mid-2014 est.)|
|• Rank||178th (of 326)|
|• Density||550/sq mi (210/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|
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 geographical size it is the largest district in Kent.
The Borough is divided into 39 civil parishes centred on villages, but the town of Ashford itself has experienced rapid urban growth leading to new suburbs such as Stanhope and Sevington. The corridor created by the M20 motorway and High Speed 1 and its railway station has led to agricultural land, particularly where it borders the town, being turned to urban uses. Consequently, the second most populous settlement today is Kennington, which is centred 1 mile (1.6 km) north of Ashford.
Core historical components
In 1991 the Census showed 92,331 people living in the Borough of Ashford, but by 2001 that figure had risen to 102,661. The County Council's population forecasts in 2006 (for 2011 and 2016) were 119,600 and 129,000 giving a population increase of 25.2% since 2001. Ashford Borough Council predicts that the growth will rise to 141,100 by the year 2021.
The 2011 census reported Ashford as having:
- 117,956 residents
- 47,787 households (an increase since 2001 from 41,450)
- 83% of residents describing their health as 'good' or 'very good'
- 13% of residents describing their health as 'fair'
- 16.8% of those over the age of 16 having no qualifications
- an unemployment rate of 2.6% of all economically active people aged 16–74 (an increase since 2001 of 0.2%)
The settlement of Kennington is the second most well-populated in the borough and begins immediately north of the M20 motorway which is next to the town centre of Ashford. Other major settlements include substantial buffer land and include Kingsnorth, Tenterden and Hamstreet (or Orlestone).
Housing and architecture
The layout of the main town is one of a medieval-layout European village centre, largely re-built upon with housing a combination of low-rise apartments, semi-detached, terraced or detached homes with gardens. In the villages low-rise dominates: the incidence of flats exceeding two storeys is very rare.
The number of listed buildings in the district exceeds 400. This includes 33 churches listed in the highest grading in the national listing system (Grade I). Oast houses and listed public houses date typically to the 17th and 18th centuries with a minority built in the centuries to either side.
There are 43 electoral wards in the Borough; 18 of those split up Ashford town broadly defined. The Conservative party has held control of the council for much of its history, apart from periods where no party had a majority and has had a majority since the 2003 election. The make-up can change quickly as it is elected as a whole (not one third at a time). For the four year from the election in 2011 the council became composed of councillors of these parties:-
|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 an economy dominated by agriculture, brewing, food production and to a lesser extent brick clay excavation and manufacture, has become centred on an industrial and commercial area at its heart. The corridor caused by the M20 motorway and High Speed 1 and its International Station have since its late 1990s construction prompted much agricultural land being converted to residential and business estates. The local plan continues to plan for new housing in areas around the town such as Finberry as businesses continue to perform in the area.
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. Ashford council recycling boss Cllr Gerry Clarkson said: "I think it's brilliant in the sense that we can only go up."