A new service station and Budgens store has opened in Ashford after an investment of more than £2m by local businessman Kanagaratnam Rajamenon.
He took over the former petrol station and garage in Hythe Road in August, and has invested in new petrol tanks, an extended canopy and extra pumps. A 2,100 sq ft Budgens supermarket has also been added. Further investment is expected in the coming months, which will bring the total cost of buying and transforming the site to £2.7m.
Willesborough Service Station also offers charging facilities for electric vehicles, and the point was emphasised with £106,000 hybrid BMWi8 executive saloon on hand to welcome guests attending the opening.
Both the service station and the Budgens store are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the site has 12 fuel pumps, three electric charging points, free ATM, hot food-to-go, Costa Coffee and a wide range of fresh foods. The supermarket also has a 24-hour alcohol licence.
Rajamenon said: “We have become partners with BP and Budgens, and together we have provided a major new facility for local people and I hope they enjoy using the store, which is open 24 hours a day. Being the last branded service station before joining the London-bound M20, I am also confident this facility will be very popular with the hundreds of thousands of people who use the motorway every year.
“And the news that a new motorway junction is to be built this year, less than a mile from our site, means that Ashford will be an even busier destination for motorists.
“This is not the end of our investment here. In phase two we hope to add a restaurant in what used to be the garage and we also have the option of developing 450sqm of space on the first floor of the service station – perhaps a gym if our research shows that there is a local demand for such a thing.
“Our decision to invest in Ashford shows our confidence in the area, which is currently undergoing a huge transformation with a series of major new developments transforming the skyline of the town. This is a good place for our business to grow and prosper.”
In addition to Willesborough Service Station, Rajamenon also owns a service station in Seabrook Road, Hythe, plus the Ramada Dover Hotel, the Best Western Clifton Hotel Folkestone, and the Holiday Inn Express Canterbury. He also runs the Abode Care Homes Group, which provides residential, nursing and elderly mentally infirm care at five homes across Kent and Essex.