Frequent visitors to Elwick Place, Ashford’s brand new leisure complex, will perhaps have wondered at the sight of a man lying in the street, pedestrians and cars gently stopping and rerouting to avoid him. Fear not: all is well. A local resident, he has taken it upon himself to test whether one of Britain’s first ‘shared surfaces’ really does give pedestrians right of way. Until now completely unscathed, his body-on-the-line experiment proves that the scheme works.

Part of a town-wide regeneration project masterplanned by Hollaway Studio, Elwick includes the country’s first new-build 1000-seat Picturehouse, a 60-bed hotel, a clutch of restaurants and shops, and sits in the centre of the town. One of many counter-intuitive fruits of a partnership between the public and the private, it’s the result of a regeneration policy initiated and managed by Ashford Borough Council, whose vision sees the town eventually restored to its glory days.

With its original cattle-market gates, flying animals, giant picture frames, the cinema’s time-responsive façade, and a rich mix of activities, Elwick Place is an investment in the future, and one that (just like the old days) welcomes with open arms the individual, the different, and the positively eccentric – the man who lies down in the street very much included.