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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 16:37 GMT
20m funding for Ashford's future
More than 20m of funding has been allocated to education, transport and environment projects in the Ashford area of Kent.

The town and its surroundings come under the government's Sustainable Communities Plan, which aims to see tens of thousands of new homes built.

The cash will go towards infrastructure to support the new housing.

Developments in Ashford include road improvements, a park-and-ride scheme and a new learning campus.

The further and higher education facility, which will see hundreds of new jobs created, is getting a 5.5m contribution.

Ashford is a great location for new homes
Yvette Cooper, housing and planning minister

About 6m is going towards park-and-ride and car park plans, as well as improvements to the road layout and railway bridge at Newtown Way.

Another 8m will be spent on changes to most of Ashford town centre's ring road.

Environmental projects include ensuring future water supplies and developing strategies for waste water treatment and flood defences (500,000); a new environmental education centre (270,000); and masterplanning work for the second phase of the Willesborough Dykes project (50,000).

Housing and planning minister Yvette Cooper said: "Ashford is a great location for new homes but it's important we have the right kind of infrastructure in place."

Work on the projects is due to start in the next couple of months with further funding being made available in the future.

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