Ashford

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Ashford
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (6)
County
Kent
Forward Destination on
M20 • A28 • A259 • A2070
Next Primary Destinations
Canterbury • Channel Tunnel • Hastings • Maidstone
Other Nearby Destinations
Brenzett • Faversham • Tenterden
Places related to the A28
Canterbury • Hastings • Margate • Ramsgate • Tenterden

Ashford is a town in the borough of Ashford in Kent, situated next to the M20. In 2005 it was voted the fourth best place to live in the United Kingdom, and has been marked by the government as a key town for expansion. Ashford International Railway Station has trains to Paris and Brussels, high speed links to London, and the Marshlink line to Rye and Hastings.

History

Pre 1950

Ashford, circa 1930, on a Michelin road map

Ashford gained prominence as a market and railway town. Several main rail routes converge in the town, and consequently the station has always been an important connection between lines. The town expanded to house railway workers, and traders visiting the market.

The original main turnpike route through Ashford was via Maidstone Road, New Street, St Georges Square, High Street, East Hill and Hythe Road, which made up the A20. The other main road was via North Street and Canterbury Road towards Canterbury, which became the A28. This road also followed Chart Road out to Great Chart and Tenterden. At the time, the road south to Brenzett and New Romney was not as significant as today. The majority of urban development lay between the High Street and the railway, aside from some streets in South Ashford to house railway workers.

1950 - 1975

Ashford High Street. Once the A20, the road has been pedestrianised since the mid 1970s.

Like many market towns, a bypass had been planned for Ashford since the 1930s. Progressed stalled due to the war, and the Ashford Bypass eventually opened in 1957. It was a then modern grade separated dual carriageway, and was opened before most other bypasses in Kent, including Maidstone, Canterbury and the Medway Towns.

Most of the major transport developments in Ashford have their roots in the 1960s. The main project was the Ringway, which took a mix of widening old roads and new construction. There was considerable local opposition, as it caused numerous properties on Station Road and Somerset Road to be demolished, while Park Road was completely wiped from the map. It opened in 1973 as a one-way ring road, and over time developed a reputation for dangerous driving from boy racers. In 2007, the Ringway was converted into a two way street with the southern section converted into a "shared space" scheme where car, bus, cycle and pedestrian traffic was allowed to mix freely. The scheme has since proven controversial.

Ashford in 1959. Since the building of the Ringway in the early 1970s, the layout of the town today is completely different. The original bypass is open, which is now partly the M20 and partly the A28 Simone Weil Avenue

The other major project inside Ashford town centre was the removal of derelict and run down properties to the west of the town centre. Hempstead Street was completely demolished, as was part of Tufton Street, to build the Tufton Centre, which opened in 1975. The shopping centre has since been converted from open space to roofed, renamed County Square, and had a major extension in 2008 with the construction of a new Debenhams. The route of the B2074, which once ran along Elwick Road, Bank Street and Godinton Road, connecting the station, market and hospital, is now partially unrecognisable due to this new construction.

1975 - present

After the construction of the Ringway, the most dangerous junction left in Ashford was probably the five way split between Maidstone Road (by then the A292), Magazine Road, Chart Road (both then part of the A28) and Western Avenue, which was a cause of numerous accidents between conflicting cross country and local traffic. The junction was converted into a roundabout in the late 1970s, with access to Western Avenue blocked off, and a one way system developed around Maidstone Road and Chart Road. Since then, Chart Road has been bypassed to meet the A20 at the Drovers Roundabout, and the importance of Chart Road has diminished.

The M20 through Ashford was constructed into two distinct phases. The first occurred in the late 1970s, and was a partial online upgrade of the bypass to motorway standards. It opened to traffic in 1981. There were no immediate plans to extend the motorway west of junction 9 before the Channel Tunnel started construction. It was eventually completed in 1991.

The link road between the A20 and M20 J9 has been progressively developed. The A251 has been rerouted south of Eastwell Manor onto a new road to meet the M20, making the junction a through route. The link road is now named Fougeres Way (named after the French town twinned with Ashford), and has seen recent development including a John Lewis store.

Routes

Route To Notes

M20

Channel Tunnel, Folkestone, Dover

M20

London, Maidstone

A28

Canterbury

A2070

Hastings Access to destination is via A259. Older signs list Brenzett instead of Hastings.

A20

Sellinge The original turnpike road to Hythe and Folkestone.

A20

Lenham The original turnpike road to Maidstone. Lenham is the site of a major cold store, which is the main reason for HGVs using this section of the road. Was a primary route until the M20 was completed in 1991, and sporadic signs along this route still read "London, Maidstone" in places.

A28

Tenterden

A251

(M2), Faversham Since 2012, M2 has been removed from some signs along this road.

A2042

Kennington The former A251, renumbered when Trinity Road was completed c. 2002

A2042

Ashford International (international departures) This is the main signed route to the station from the M20. Traffic is directed to junction 10 and along the A2070 Bad Munstereifel Road

Links



Ashford
SectionsAshford Bypass
JunctionsDrovers Roundabout • Finn Farm Roundabout • Lacton Interchange • M20 J9 • Orbital Park Roundabout • Park Farm Junction • Sevington Interchange • Spearpoint Corner
CrossingsMace Lane Bridge • Norman Road Bridge • Romney Marsh Road Bridge
RoadsA20 • A2042 • A2070 • A2079 • A251 • A28 • A292 • A292 (Magazine Road, Ashford) • B2070 (Ashford - New Romney) • B2072 (Ashford) • B2073 • B2074 • B2164 • B2229 • E15 • E2 (Old System) • E5 (Old System) • M20 • T4 (Britain)
MiscellaneousA20/history • A20/route
Related Pictures
View gallery (6)
A2070 willesborough bypass.jpgAshford High Street (former A20) - Coppermine - 10309.JPGSimone Weil sign.jpgThe M20 at Night From The Cab of an RAC TruckUnusual Patching - Coppermine - 4281.JPG
Places in South East England
Major DestinationsBrighton • Canterbury • Channel Tunnel • Chichester • Dover • Guildford
Primary DestinationsAshford • Bognor Regis • Crawley • Dartford Crossing • Dorking • East Grinstead • Eastbourne • Farnham • Folkestone • Gatwick Airport • Hastings • Horsham • Lewes • Maidstone • Margate • Newhaven • Ramsgate • Reigate • Sevenoaks • Sheerness • Staines • Thamesport • Tunbridge Wells • Uckfield • Worthing
Other PlacesBexhill • Billingshurst • Brenzett • Burgess Hill • Chatham • Dartford • Esher • Ewell • Faversham • Gillingham • Gravesend • Haywards Heath • Hindhead • Hove • Hythe • Leatherhead • Littlehampton • Midhurst • Redhill • Rochester • Rye • Sandwich • Shoreham-by-Sea • Sittingbourne • Swanley • Tenterden • Tonbridge • Weybridge • Woking