Following new statistics, Ashford residents want the fashion retailer Primark to open a new branch in County Square.
Residents have previously called for the Ireland-based retailer to open a new location in Ashford, with many saying the three-storey unit in County Square, previously used by Debenhams, would be an ideal location.
Ashford and Dover are the only towns in east Kent without a Primark, with Thanet’s Westwood Cross, Folkestone, and Canterbury including a branch.
For the first time since the ‘Bring Primark to Ashford’ Facebook campaign was initiated in 2009, new data highlights how much the residents want a new location to launch.
Figures collected by MP Damien Green’s ‘Ashford Town Survey’ favoured Primark considerably among the 1200 participants.
When asked what store they would like opened in Ashford town centre, 33% listed Primark.
Making second place was M&S with 24%.
A department store of any kind came third with 22%, something the town centre lacks due to the departure of Debenhams in 2020.
Mr Green said: “The overwhelming winner is Primark,” who will now speak to company bosses about the possibility of Primark opening in the town.
“Of course, it is an individual decision for each retailing company as to where they put their stores, or indeed if they keep stores open in an era of online shopping, but there would clearly be a ready market for Primark in Ashford,” he added.
Mr Green, who has been Ashford’s MP since 1997, was “delighted” to receive 1,200 replies to his survey.
The survey was to indicate “what people really want” from the town centre.
The survey reveals that 41% of participants visit Ashford town less than once a month.
The main factors are a lack of shops, at 49%, while other considerations were parking charges and anti-social behaviour.
Commenting on Mr Green’s survey results, Ashford Borough Council said: “The council undertakes a number of initiatives to look to support improvements in Ashford town centre, and we will work with any property owners to try to support retailers that the public would like to see come into our town centre where this is possible.”