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Ashford

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Ashford is a town in the county of Kent, England. It lies on the River Great Stour at the south edge of the North Downs, about southeast of central London and northwest of Folkestone by road. In the 2011 census, it had a population of 74,204. The name comes from the Old English æscet, indicating a ford near a clump of ash trees. It has been a market town since the 13th century, and a regular market continues to be held.Ashford has been a communications hub and has stood at the centre of five railway lines since the 19th century. The arrival of the railways became a source of employment and contributed to the town's growth. With the opening of the international passenger station it is now a European communications centre, with new lines running between London and the Channel Tunnel (via High Speed 1). The M20 motorway also links Ashford to those two destinations for road traffic.The town has been marked as a place for expansion since the 1960s and appeared on several Government plans for growth. Changes have included the County Square shopping centre, the redevelopment of the Templer Barracks at Repton Park, and the award winning Ashford Designer Outlet. In the 1970s, a controversial ring road scheme and construction of the multi storey Charter House building destroyed significant parts of the old town, though some areas were spared and preserved.
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