Sunday, August 9, 2020

£1m boost for Dales employment development

D2N2 has agreed to provide £1million from its Local Growth Fund to support the Ashbourne Airfield development project in the Derbyshire Dales.

The funding will support new infrastructure to unlock much needed land for employment and housing development. Once completed, the overall scheme will provide employment space within Ashbourne for new and expanding businesses, creating opportunities for businesses and jobs for local people.

The project is a partnership between Derbyshire Dales District Council, Derbyshire County Council and landowner FW Harrison, all of which have put in additional funding for the infrastructure improvements. The public/private partnership has worked for a number of years to deliver the scheme to this point.

D2N2 is the private sector-led partnership which promotes economic growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. It has been allocated more than £250m in its Local Growth Fund from Government to part-fund infrastructure projects which directly help the area’s economy and create jobs.

The Ashbourne Airfield scheme, costing £10.27million in total, will see the construction of a new 50m-wide three-arm roundabout on the A52 – providing a crucial second access to the site – and a 720m long link road to the nearby Airfield Industrial Estate, named after the former second world-war era RAF airbase.

Ashbourne Airfield Industrial Estate is the largest employment location in the Derbyshire Dales and is the focus of the district’s manufacturing economy, occupied by over 70 businesses employing over 2000 people.

Once complete, the new roundabout and link road will address existing highway capacity problems as well as speeding up the construction of the proposed Ashbourne Business Park and adjacent housing development.

Derbyshire Dales District Council Leader Councillor Garry Purdy said: “This £1-million cash boost from the LGF kickstarts a project of massive importance for the future prosperity of the Dales.

“The delivery of the much needed employment site and infrastructure also opens up the neighbouring strategic housing allocation that is a priority for us as the local planning authority. Moreover, we identified the new business park as the main future employment location in the Derbyshire Dales Local Plan, adopted in 2017, the site accounting for a third of all new employment development land in the district.

“Ashbourne Airfield is superbly located within easy reach of nationally important cities and employment locations, but the fact that it does not currently have good access to the A52 is a big negative. The new roundabout and link road will address existing highway capacity problems and effectively unlocks the site’s enormous potential.”

The new Ashbourne Business Park will consist of 9 hectares of serviced and development-ready employment land with the private sector committed to delivering at least 60,000 ft² of new high quality employment floorspace by 2023.

The road improvements will also open up the possibility of a new housing development on the site, providing as many as 367 new homes as well as community and leisure facilities.

The project will now begin with site preparation taking place later this month, and completion of the roundabout and link road should happen by the end of this year.

D2N2 Chair Elizabeth Fagan said of the news to attribute funding: “Ashbourne is the heart of Derbyshire Dales manufacturing economy and this critical investment in infrastructure will facilitate new jobs and opportunities for local people and businesses which will contribute towards the growth of the regional economy.”

Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure Councillor Simon Spencer said: “Helping businesses to start up, thrive and survive in Derbyshire is one of our key priorities.

“This project will unlock land to bring forward expansion of Ashbourne Airfield Business Park, providing new opportunities for existing tenants looking to develop and grow, as well as attracting new businesses, bringing more jobs to the area. I’m pleased we’re able to lead the co-ordination of this project and look forward to seeing further developments soon.”

A spokesperson for FW Harrison said: “The Harrison family have been working towards getting the site developed for over 10 years and are pleased that construction of the road infrastructure will start shortly. The site will provide much needed industrial floor space and jobs for existing occupiers of the Ashbourne Airfield to expand and also give the chance for growth for new companies in Ashbourne. The roundabout and link road will be a much needed alternative access to the existing industrial estate and reduce the traffic congestion.

“We are a family company based in Ashbourne, so have very local principles. Fredrick Harrison started the company and purchased the site in the early sixties and the family want to create a legacy for the town.

“We look forward to continuing the working relationship with the district and county councils to accelerate the ambitions of the partnership to deliver jobs and the local plan for local people.”

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