The Discover Ashfield Board met last week to discuss plans for the Towns Fund submission for Kirkby and Sutton.
As part of the Towns Fund, Kirkby and Sutton could receive up to £25m each to fund plans to create thriving and revitalised town centres, with a wide range of services and retail offer, a vibrant night-time economy and enhanced leisure offer.
Plans will be submitted in January, and at the meeting of the Discover Ashfield Board, which includes a wide range of stakeholders including business, education, health, transport, other councils and your local elected councillors, the exciting plans for Kirkby and Sutton were discussed.
A range of projects have been developed across the District for new housing, better education and leisure facilities, and to support and grow the area’s visitor economy. Projects include:
- At Fox Street we will be redeveloping the derelict plot of land behind Lloyds bank to provide better access between ASDA and Portland Square, additional car parking and a place for popup events.
- On Low Street we will be purchasing vacant units and renovating them for a variety of new uses on the ground floor and residential apartments above.
- We are working with the Sutton Community Academy on a major renovation of their theatre so that it becomes a new public facing community theatre and cinema.
- A Maker Space that will offer access to tools and work spaces so that those lacking the space or funds at home will be able to make anything they like.
- We are working with Inspire, Sutton Community Academy and Vision West Notts on a new joint construction skills centre. We are also working with Vision West Notts on a new civil engineering education centre.
- At the Northern end of Outram Street we will have a new fund that will purchase vacant shops and develop good quality residential conversions.
- Around Kirkby station we are planning a new gateway building with a business hub, transport interchange and to the South, start up industrial units.
- In Kirkby town centre pedestrianised area we are converting three vacant units into a new indoor market. On the plaza we will be building a new café and coffee shop and across Ellis street a new landmark building will provide apartments and space for business and health uses.
- At Sutton Lawn and Kingsway Park we will be further expanding these sports hubs with better facilities
- At Kings Mill Reservoir we are developing a new leisure offering that will enable more people to experience water sports activities and the beauty of the reservoir.
- We will be helping support the exciting plans at the Sherwood Observatory to build a new planetarium.
In addition to all of these physical projects we are also working on a raft of programmes focussed on helping people and businesses in the area with developing skills. These range from helping tech novices to start using the Internet, to helping businesses to develop their online presence so they can access new markets, through to helping people in the maker space and new training centres to learn a new skill.
Cllr Matthew Relf, Cabinet Member for Place, Planning and Regeneration said:
“The Discover Ashfield Board has been working closely with the Council over the past 12 months to develop a range of exciting projects that will benefit a wide range of Ashfield residents. The proposed projects will have a real impact on developing Kirkby & Sutton town centres into thriving hubs, and improve our already excellent leisure offering.
“We are disappointed that the government rules around the Towns Fund has meant we have not been allowed projects in Hucknall and the rural areas, but we hope that Ashfield residents can see there are exciting plans here that will benefit the area as a whole and help continue to make Ashfield a fantastic place to live, work, study and visit.”
In October Ashfield District Council received confirmation that they have secured £1.5m from the accelerated Towns Fund. The funding is split equally between Kirkby and Sutton and has to be spent by the end of March 2021.
Projects which will be funded by the accelerated Towns Fund include:
- Cycle and walking route improvements across Kirkby to connect employment areas, the town centre and residential areas.
- Kirkby high street – small-scale indoor market with opportunities for start-up businesses and conversion of the upper floor for new apartments.
- Commercial property purchase in Sutton for future conversion for residential and commercial use.
- Additional funding for a planned new play area at Sorrel Drive in Kirkby.
- A contribution to the £1.6m development at Portland College, Sutton for a sports and cultural facility.
Sutton Councillor, Cllr Samantha Deakin, has welcomed the funding. She said:
“This first stage of funding is a fantastic step forward with our plans for Kirkby and Sutton, which we have been working tirelessly over. We will be able to make a real difference with this funding. I want to thank all the Council Officers, Council Members, the Discover Ashfield board and our partners for all their hard work and dedication over the past year.’’
Martin Rigley, Chair of the Discover Ashfield Board, said:
“We are so pleased to receive the accelerated funding. The Discover Ashfield board have been working with the Council and partners to ensure that this money will be spent where it is most needed. Discover Ashfield is about promoting Ashfield in the most positive way, pushing for investment and celebrating our heritage and all that is great about living, working and visiting Ashfield. This funding will start to make our plans a reality.”