Thursday, December 3, 2020

Town Centre investment takes another step forward

Ashfield District Council has progressed major plans to regenerate Kirkby and Sutton.

Investment of up to £25 million for Kirkby and £25 million for Sutton has taken another step forward through the Government’s Towns Fund initiative.

Ashfield District Council has been working with the Discover Ashfield board to prepare a Town Investment Plan for the two towns.

Over 1,300 residents took part in a public consultation in May to find out how they want to see Kirkby and Sutton improve.

Having listened to views of local residents, the Council and Discover Ashfield board has been working with partners to develop a wide range of projects: from creating new jobs, sports and leisure facilities and great places to visit, to a network of off-road walking and cycling routes.

The plans also include improving education opportunities for young people and helping people back into work through support with digital skills.

The Council will be submitting the bid in January next year.

Leader of Ashfield District Council, Councillor Jason Zadrozny has welcomed the funding. He said: “To have up to £50 million in funding coming to Kirkby and Sutton is a once in a generation opportunity. Our towns have been overlooked for far too long and we have a real opportunity to transform our area.’’

The Council is awaiting confirmation from the Government for an ‘accelerated’ Towns Fund offer of £1.5 million split between the two towns. This would need to be spent by March 2021. Plans are being developed for how this money can be used and further information will be released if the Government confirms the allocation.

The outcome of a bid by Ashfield District Council to the Future High Streets Fund for Sutton Town centre is also being hotly anticipated, with an announcement due in the autumn.

This could see up to £12.4 million invested in a range of projects designed to transform the town centre, creating new places for eating out and a live music, cinema and theatre venue at Sutton Academy.

The plans also include a pop-up food market at Fox Street with additional car parking, a community Maker Space, restoration and re-use of vacant properties on Low Street and high quality apartments for town-centre living.

Cllr Matthew Relf, Portfolio Holder for Place, Planning and Regeneration commented: “There are exciting times ahead for Ashfield! We are ambitious in our plans for the area and we are working closely with residents and our partners to ensure the towns not only recover from the years of neglect but also the challenges brought by the pandemic.

“The investment will support the towns to create a wider offer for leisure, community, housing, healthcare and education, as well as increased cultural opportunities, helping to create thriving towns that people want to visit. We will continue to support the town centres by promoting our Shop Local initiative and through the two free hours parking our Council introduced in September.”

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