The six acre development includes a four-storey, 60-room hotel, eight new restaurant and café spaces and a six screen ‘boutique’ cinema.
It will sit at Elwick Road - the site of Ashford’s former cattle market - and is expected to create around 250 jobs.
The plans were submitted by Stanhope, the developers behind the transformation of the former BBC Television centre in to a hotel, restaurants and flats.
Speaking at the planning meeting, Cllr Mike Bennett said the plans would make Ashford ‘the envy of other towns across Kent’.
"We have before us plans for a spectacular cinema building,” he said.
"The hotel is much needed. It is a quality development on a long abandoned site.”
The cinema building will be wrapped in a gold-coloured, aluminium mesh on to which images will be projected at night.
Leader of Ashford Borough Council, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, said: “We’re delighted to see these exciting proposals move one step closer.
“A town centre cinema, set around a new square with places to eat and drink, will be a real draw and will help to bring extra vitality to the town centre during the day and evening.”
A second phase of the development consisting of up to 200 apartments will be considered by Ashford Borough Council's planning committee in early 2016.