The Elwick Place development, situated on the site of Ashford's former cattle market, was given planning consent in December last year, but developer Stanhope PLC had to wait until a meeting last month to find out where funding would come from.
Ashford Borough Council leader Gerry Clarkson said funding from the council would enable the regeneration project to be 'brought forward quickly' providing new leisure facilities for the town and improving its night-time economy.
“Taking this bold decision underlines the importance of the town centre to the council and shows residents, existing businesses and those considering Ashford as a location for their business, that Ashford is a place of positive action with a can-do authority that continues to place its faith in a revived and reinvigorated town centre both during office hours and into the evening," he said. "These really are exciting times for Ashford.”
Development plans include the creation of a 58-bedroom hotel, seven restaurant and bar spaces and a six-screen cinema. When completed, the project is expected to create 250 jobs.
Restaurant and bar operators interested in taking a site and hotel companies looking to operate the site's hotel are asked to contact Ashford Borough Council.
Ashford Borough Council's funding of the leisure development follows its acquisition of the town's International House office complex and Park Mall shopping centre and is part of its Big 8 Project to regenerate the town.
A second phase of development at Elwick Place - the construction of up to 200 apartments - is expected to start at the end of the year.