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Changing Kent: Transforming towns
By Hannah Ratcliffe
BBC Kent

 the Turner Contemporary Centre in Margate
Change on the horizon: the Turner Contemporary Centre in Margate

Change in Kent looks at three towns in Kent which are working towards improving their fortunes.

These towns are; Ashford, Dover and Margate.

Each of these towns has long-term regeneration plans and, after much planning, deciding and revising, change has finally started to happen.

High speed trains arrived in Ashford. Dover reopened its Great Tower and in Margate Turner Contemporary Centre is now a reality.

These changes are significant because they each relate to the towns' strengths which they hope will catalyse their efforts towards creating a better future.

Ashford: transport and connectivity

The international train station in Ashford
The right direction: Ashford's international train station

Ashford has high speed rail links to London and continental Europe and easy access to the M20 running between the M25 and the coast. Also, its location in Kent affords short journeys to other towns in Kent.

It is hoped that Ashford's strength in transport and connectivity will encourage businesses to base themselves in Ashford as well as attracting London commuters to live in the area.

Transport and connectivity is also important to Ashford because an infrastructure vital to its considerable expansion. The Government has appointed it as one of England's Growth Areas. The Ashford area is planned to have around 30,000 more homes by 2030.

Dover: heritage and history

Dover's white cliffs and eastern docks
Striking a balance: Dover's white cliffs and eastern docks

Dover has a wealth of sites of historical significance, important to many periods through the ages; from the Bronze Age right through to the Second World War.

The plan is to put these sites to use so that they benefit the town. In 2009, the Great Tower at Dover Castle was refurbished and reopened with the help of a Sea Change grant.

Dover sees 14 million people pass through it every year. It is hoped by raising the profile of the town's attractions more people will stop in Dover to see the sites of historical importance, and thus bring money to the town.

Margate: art and culture

An art gallery in Margate's old town
New look: an art gallery in Margate's old town

Margate aims to promote itself as a place of art and culture. At one end of the seafront is Dreamland which has secured £3.7 million of Sea Change money for its renewal and refurbishment. At the other end of the seafront the Turner Contemporary Centre is being constructed.

These two anchor attractions are hoped to attract visitors back to Margate as well as inviting an artistic community to be based in the town.


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