Located in Kent, Ashford is a large town that lies 61 miles away from central London on the edge of the North Downs. As part of the Home Office’s Safer Streets fund, the area has been awarded more than half a million pounds to make improvements to the town centre.
A key element of this is the transformation of the Ashford Underpass; a busy tunnel connecting Ashford train station’s regional platform to international services. It also provides access to Newtown Road and nearby retail outlets.
To ensure it is a brighter, safer place to pass through, Ashford Borough Council committed to a programme of regeneration works. This development is in part a response to requests from residents to provide safer areas for commuting and supports Ashford’s bid to encourage more cycling and walking throughout the town over the next decade.
Adding CCTV and lighting was a crucial part of the transformation to increase safety and visibility. Lighting designers DFL were appointed to the project, specifying solutions from manufacturer GVA Lighting to create a scheme that completely transformed the underpass with a brand-new lighting design.
As well as providing the fixtures, GVA Lighting selected an LPC 1 (Lighting Playback Controller 1) to programme and control the lighting design. The LPC 1 is an all-in-one control solution from dynamic lighting specialists Pharos Architectural Controls, featuring individually controllable and independently running timelines and scenes that allow you to build fully customisable pre-programmed lighting effects with the freedom of real-time manual overrides.
The Ashford Underpass lighting design features a colour washing scheme and lighting scenes set to commemorate annual events and notable dates that can be programmed and controlled remotely.
The Pharos technology has provided Ashford Borough Council with full control of the lighting, as well as a flexible and adaptable solution. The organisation can select a range of colours when wanting to showcase their support for important causes, raise awareness of a national event, or celebrate positive occasions.
Notable days that have already been marked or planned include Ukraine Independence Day, Recycling Week, World Mental Health Day, Diwali and Christmas.
The underpass has also been adorned with two striking murals, painted by local artist Lionel Stanhope. The designs were chosen from the entrants into a competition held at the local North School, whose pupils use the underpass every day to get to and from school. The winning mural was designed by a group of year nine pupils and celebrates Ashford’s history.
The Ashford underpass is now a more attractive and welcoming environment, undoubtedly improving the experience of those using it for work, school and leisure. The wider regeneration project has also helped to improve Ashford’s reputation as a place to visit, helping it to become a thriving and prosperous town once again.