Ashbourne Reborn public engagement

Ashbourne town centre - 2025 style!

Local people could view the latest designs for Ashbourne's upcoming town centre transformation at two drop-in sessions at the end of July 2023.

Focus of the public engagement was the public realm and highway components of the Ashbourne Reborn programme - but advanced plans were on display too for the development of Ashbourne Methodist Church into a multi-purpose community hub.

The sessions in the Century Hall at the Methodist Church were:

  • 3-7pm on Wednesday 26 July
  • 10am to 2pm on Saturday 29 July

Available to discuss new designs not seen in public before were the design team from Aecom, the Derbyshire-based company contracted to transform the pedestrian experience in Ashbourne and re-work public spaces including Market Place, Victoria Square, Millennium Square and Shrovetide Walk.

ashbourne reborn dig street before and after visualisation

Here's one of the preliminary designs (above), showing how Dig Street looks today and how it could look in two years' time.

ashbourne market place before and after

An emerging before and after visual of the Market Place - indicative only to inform and gather feedback from the public consultation events

Consultation results

There are three project areas for Ashbourne Reborn. The first (£3.9m) will improve the highways, including works to Compton, Dig Street, St John Street and Buxton Road. £4.9m will improve the public realm throughout the core town centre (the Market Place, Victoria Square, Millennium Square and Shrovetide Walk).

The third project (£6.4m) will transform Ashbourne Methodist Church into a community hub, creating space for a wide range of community uses and events. Modern hostel style and family accommodation will also be provided together with a community garden and outdoor event space and a mobility hub including cycling facilities and real-time information for local buses. This third project is not part of the survey below.

Views were gathered views from local residents, businesses, local partners and schools to help develop the preliminary designs for the Ashbourne Reborn Highways and Public Realm scheme. This involved undertaking a survey of businesses directly affected by the scheme, and hosting two ‘drop-in’ sessions where members of the public and business owners could view the preliminary design proposals and speak to the design team directly. We also ran sessions with schools in Ashbourne to get the views of our young people, and arranged site visits with the Town Team, AshCom and Methodist Church. Alongside these visits, a series of meetings with local, District and County Councillors helped to inform the designs, including discussions at a meeting of Ashbourne Town Council. The report below provides a summary of the outcome of the engagement process which has been used to inform the emerging scheme design.



Programme partners - Ashbourne Town Team, Ashbourne Town Council, AshCom, Ashbourne Methodist Church, Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council - have been working hard since the announcement in January of a £13.4-million improvement grant from the government's Levelling Up Fund.

The difference of £1.8m in the overall cost is made up of various funding that different partners have committed to spend alongside the grant.

Leader of the District Council, which is leading the programme, Councillor Steve Flitter said:

"All partners are committed to taking the public with us on this exciting journey. We want them to get bang up to speed with the latest plans, have their say and get a feel for what their town could look like by the middle of 2025.

"So far as local people and businesses in Ashbourne are concerned this might be perceived as a time when nothing much is happening. Indeed, it's going to be next year before work starts on the ground in the town centre. But a great deal of necessary planning and governance work has been happening behind the scenes."

To kickstart the local economy, Ashbourne Reborn will see connections between town centre spaces improved. A comprehensive set of upgrades along Compton, Dig Street and St John Street will create a far better pedestrian experience, reducing the impact of vehicles and improving safety. Derbyshire County Council is responsible for the £8.8-million public realm and highways improvements.

While the second part of the programme - the £6.4-million transformation of Ashbourne Methodist Church into a community hub - isn't formally a part of the drop-in sessions, members of the public will be able to view 3D plans of what will become modern hostel style and family accommodation, with a community garden and outdoor event space and mobility hub including cycling facilities.

Separately during the coming weeks, Ashbourne businesses will be visited by the Aecom team to feed their thoughts into the current design programme.

Ashbourne Town Team Chair Anne Wright said:

"Working in partnership with Ashbourne Town Council and the District Council, the Town Team has been promoting the economic and environmental regeneration since 2019.

“The £15 million Levelling Up Fund opportunity will help to transform our town centre through quality environmental and highway improvements over the next two years. Coupled with significant private and community sector investment in our town over the last few years, with much more to follow, Ashbourne is maximising its potential."

See answers to frequently asked questions about Ashbourne Reborn.

Local people can sign up for email updates as the programme progresses.

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