The first meeting of the Board responsible for overseeing the £15.2-million Ashbourne Reborn programme took place this week.
The Ashbourne Reborn Programme Board sessions are open to the public and, at the first meeting, District Councillor David Hughes was confirmed as Chair of the Programme Board.
Membership includes all the Ashbourne Reborn programme partners - the District and County councils, Ashbourne Methodist Church, Ashbourne Town Council, Ashbourne Town Team and Ashcom – in addition to Derbyshire Dales MP Sarah Dines.
Wednesday's meeting included an update on the programme, which has been made possible with a grant award of more than £13-million from the government's Levelling Up Fund. The difference of £1.8m is made up of various funding that different partners have committed to spend alongside the government grant.
Board members considered progress with preparatory work on the two distinct projects, the first being to transform public spaces including the Market Place, Victoria Square, Millennium Square and Shrovetide Walk, linked to highways improvements along Dig Street and St John Street to create a better pedestrian experience. This project is costed at £8.804m.
The second project, costed at £6.418m, will transform the Methodist Church building into a multi-purpose community space, enhancing the town centre offer and providing a venue that will help drive greater footfall.
While the District Council is the accountable body for Ashbourne Reborn, the public realm project is being led by the County Council and the community hub project by Ashbourne Methodist Church. Both projects have their own boards, which have been meeting since May this year.
After Wednesday's meeting, Councillor Hughes said:
"The Programme Board is the strategic element of this terrific opportunity to transform the town centre of Ashbourne.
"Our purpose is to provide a framework that will enable local authorities and partners to work collaboratively and provide political and strategic leadership, as well constructively supporting and challenging the delivery partners to bring their projects in on time and within their allocated budgets.
"Recent public engagement events and surveys have been well supported, and it is vital that we continue to take local people and stakeholders along with us on this exciting journey."
Sarah Dines MP said:
"Ashbourne Reborn is one of the best opportunities we have to Level Up the Ashbourne area for now and for future generations. This government investment is unprecedented in the area and it is vital we make this project a success. I’m so pleased to see all stakeholders coming together to see this project come to fruition."