Ashford Underpass, Newtown Road, Kent, UK

The Ashford Underpass is a busy tunnel, connecting Ashford station’s regional platforms to international services, Newtown Road, and the nearby retail outlets. Ashford is undergoing a huge regeneration, as a £550,000 share of the Home Office’s ‘Safer Streets’ fund was awarded to the area to make improvements to make the town centre safer.

Ashford Borough Council is transforming the underpass into a brighter, safer place to travel, as part of its plans to encourage cycling and walking throughout the town over the next ten years, as well as responding to requests to provide safer areas for commuting.

Ashford underpass has been reinvigorated with two striking murals painted by artist Lionel Stanhope, designs which were chosen following a competition held at the local North School, whose pupils use the underpass each day. The chosen mural celebrates Ashford’s history, and was designed by a group of year nine pupils.

Another key part of the transformation of the underpass was to add lighting and CCTV, to increase safety and visibility. Lighting designer DFL created a design to install a new colour wash lighting system which can be programmed and controlled remotely. DFL specified GVA Lighting products to achieve this effect.

GVA Lighting provided 36 fixtures, including two runs of STR9-RGBW-1500-10×30-INF, powered by one single power supply PS-3000W-INF. The lighting features colour-washing solutions and lighting scenes uploaded into a Pharos controller and programmed entirely by GVA.

These lighting scenes are set to commemorate annual events and notable dates throughout the year, including Christmas, Diwali, Remembrance Day, World Mental Health Day, Ukraine Independence Day, Recycling Week, and many more. The flexible and adaptable lighting solution allows Ashford Borough Council to select a range of colours to showcase their support for important causes, raise awareness, and celebrate special occasions.

For a future-proofed solution, the lighting fixtures are secure inside an anti-vandalism custom metal structure, which protects the council’s investment and ensures quality lighting for years to come.

This innovative lighting has created an attractive, safe underpass which improves passenger experience for commuters, providing a more enjoyable journey to work and school. The project also helps showcase Ashford as a destination, as part of a regeneration with the railway and the town’s international connections, helping the local area to thrive and grow.

Client: Ashford Borough Council

Contractor: Fuserail

Designer: DFL