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Ashford at a Glance

Ashford is an expanding town which will see significant change and development over the coming years including many new homes and jobs.

Ashford is already attracting a strong trend of business development.

Take a look at Ashford's major investments to date, and upcoming projects >>>

Its dynamic economy has seen massive growth both in terms of population and employment throughout the last decade, and the area now as a Gross Value Added or over £1.5 million.

It has a flexible and motivated workforce of around 46,000 and 5,000 businesses, drawing commuters from a catchment population of 1.2 million within a 60-minute drive. More than 140 hectares of commercial development sites are available, with a further 2million sq ft of office development planned.

Key to its success as a business location is the town’s almost unbeatable location, being at the hub of the High Speed 1 (HS1) rail link to London – just 37 minutes away - with excellent European rail, road and sea connections.

Businesses and employees also benefit from the town’s excellent leisure offer, with two shopping centres and access to stunning countryside and rural villages.

The table below provides key facts on Ashford's current business position, and indicates the vitality and potential of the local economy.

Key Facts




114,100 (2009)

Population change (1987-2007) 23%



Access to potential employees within a drive time distance

20 minutes – 70,000

40 minutes – 534,000

60 minutes – 1.2 million


2.4% (Oct 2010)

Labour costs

60% less than London

10% lower than the rest of the South East

Headline companies

Brakes, Coty Rimmel UK Ltd, Eurostar, Givaudan (formerly Quest International UK Ltd), Hitachi.

Number of companies


Key sectors

Wholesale and retail, construction, transport and distribution and business services.

Education (schools)

50 (+ 3 specialist)


Ashford Designer Outlet (3 million visitors)

County Square (£65 million extension)

Travel road times to airports

93 minutes to Heathrow, around one hour to Gatwick.

Two Kent airports at Lydd (London Ashford Airport) and Manston (Kent International Airport).

Domestic Rail

London 37 minutes away by High Speed rail.

International Connections 16% of foreign owned firms in Kent are based in Ashford taking advantage of the International rail links and close proximity to Europe.

Eurostar fact (passenger)

Direct daily services to Paris, Brussels, and Lille, and direct trains to Eurodisney via Eurostar.

Port fact (freight)

2.3 million freight vehicles a year (Dover)

Port fact (passenger)

Over 13 million passengers a year and two cruise terminals.

Access time to universities

5 within one hour

Consumer access to London / Europe

360 million

Property fact (office rents)

68% less than London

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