Over £62 million has been secured for Ashfield as part of the government’s Towns Fund.
Together with funding secured from the Towns Fund Accelerator Fund and the recently announced Future High Streets Fund, over £70m has now been secured for Ashfield. Together with co-funding this will bring well over £100m of investment into the District over the next five years.
Matthew Relf, Cabinet Member for Place, Planning and Regeneration said:
“This is fantastic news for Sutton, Kirkby, the whole of Ashfield and the wider region. I am very proud of the ambitious bid that we put together and this funding, together with the £6.27m secured from Future High Streets for Sutton town centre provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to make a real and long lasting change in the area.
“I would like to thank all our partners from the Discover Ashfield Board for their time and effort. I would like to thank Lee Anderson MP for supporting this bid in Parliament. I reserve special praise though for the officers of the Council who have worked tirelessly on the bids and the brilliant residents of Ashfield who engaged with us in their hundreds to feedback to us on projects and to support the bid.”
In Autumn 2019 Sutton and Kirkby were selected to receive Towns Fund funding of up to £25 million each. Since then, the Council and the Discover Ashfield Board have been working closely with stakeholders including business, education, health, transport, and local elected Members to develop the Kirkby and Sutton Town Investment Plan. Public consultation on the suggested projects a year ago received a huge number of responses that shaped which projects were moved forward.
The investment will deliver jobs and further education opportunities, long-term economic and productivity growth, new homes, improved transport infrastructure, reduced carbon and new cultural and visitor facilities.
The investment plan focuses on four areas:
Business and education:
The centrepiece of the plan is an Automated Distribution and Manufacturing Centre to create a national centre of excellence focussed on promoting and providing access to the latest technologies and best practice in automated distribution.
Two new education centres will provide opportunities for qualifications in construction and civil engineering. At Kirkby and Sutton libraries there will be new innovation centres which will support residents with digital skills, helping them access digital services, learn new skills and adapt to new ways of working.
Health and wellbeing:
A new Kirkby Health Hub and Sports Hubs at Kingsway Park and Sutton Lawn will give residents greater access to healthier lifestyles and help improve local health outcomes.
Boost visitor economy:
A new Planetarium and Science Discovery Centre at Sherwood Observatory will help inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers across the region.
A new leisure facility at Kings Mill Reservoir will offer a range of new water sports attractions for visitors from across the region. A network of cycling and walking routes across the area will connect visitor attractions, homes and places of work.
Make Ashfield Greener:
The gateway area around Kirkby train station will be developed to provide better access to the station and interchange to buses and the new cycle/walking network to promote use of more sustainable forms of transport, as well as programme to fit existing buildings with solar and other green energy sources.
Several projects are currently underway using the £1.5m from the Accelerated Towns Fund funding, including:
- New Kirkby indoor market – due to open in late July
- Off-road cycle path improvements between Sherwood Business Park and Kirkby
- New play area at Hornbeam Park, Kirkby
- Purchase of vacant properties on Low Street, Sutton
- Creation of a Centre of Excellence for disabled people in Sport and Theatre, at Portland College
Martin Rigley, Chair of the Discover Ashfield Board said:
"The Towns Fund announcement is brilliant news for Ashfield, we have exciting plans that will benefit the area as a whole and help to make the district a fantastic place to live, work, study and visit.
“We already have a number of exciting projects underway with the funding received from the accelerated programme, and we are now excited to move forward and start developing other projects.”
Sutton also received £6.27m funding from the Future High Streets fund with the money being used to help regenerate areas of Sutton town centre including:
- Renovating Sutton Community Academy theatre to create a new cinema, live music and theatre space with café and bar all open to the public
- Refurbishing and re-purposing empty shop units on Low Street for a variety of new uses on the ground floor and residential apartments above
- Fox Street - developing the derelict land behind Lloyds Bank to provide better access between ASDA and Portland Square, additional car parking and a place for pop up events and food markets
- A Maker Space and shared workspace that will offer access to tools and workspaces so that those lacking the space or funds at home will be able to make anything they like. There will be wood and metal working tools, sewing machines, 3D printers and laser cutters. The new facility will also provide a range of offices for businesses to rent.
Jason Zadrozny, Leader of Ashfield District Council said:
“I am over the moon that Ashfield has received this funding. We are at the beginning of an exciting programme of projects which will deliver jobs, new homes, improved health service and visitor attractions.
“As well as the exciting plans in place for Sutton and Kirkby, we will continue to work with the Discover Ashfield Board and other partners to identify and develop plans for Hucknall and the Rural areas. We want to ensure that the whole district benefits from new facilities and services and we are ready to take advantage of funding opportunities as they emerge.”
It has been announced that Ashfield & Mansfield will benefit from a share of £10m the government is awarding to improve the quality of teaching in the District. The funding will be shared by four local authorities across the country where there are less pupils in good or outstanding schools compared to the average.