In a week when the Ashbourne Reborn programme is set to take another step forward with a decision on new plans for the Market Place and Victoria Square, designers have released more visuals showing how the town could develop over the next two years.
The emerging before and after graphics show St John Street and Buxton Road with wider paved areas and improved crossings, giving greater priority to pedestrians in the heart of Ashbourne.
Their release follows public and business engagement on the public realm and highway components of the Ashbourne Reborn programme during the summer, when advanced plans were on display too for the development of Ashbourne Methodist Church into a multi-purpose community hub.
In January, central government approved a Levelling Up Fund (LUF) bid designed to transform the town centre. LUF is contributing £13.4m and the total programme will cost £15.2m.
The bid was developed through close working with local partners who brought forward project ideas, identified opportunities and raised match-funding for the bid. The partners include Derbyshire Dales District Council, Derbyshire County Council, Ashbourne Town Team, Ashbourne Town Council, AshCom and Ashbourne Methodist Church.
The County Council are the lead delivery partner for the highways and public realm aspect of the project, which aims to reduce the dominance of traffic in the town by redesigning carriageways and increasing the space and quality of pedestrian routes and areas surrounding them.
Highways improvements are proposed for Dig Street, St John Street West/East, Buxton Road, Station Road and Church Street, with hard landscaping, lighting and signage improvements proposed for Shrovetide Walk, Market Place, Millennium Square and Victoria Square.
On Tuesday this week the District Council’s Planning Committee is due to consider the District Council’s own application for Listed Building Consent for the Market Place and Victoria Square.
Recommended for approval by council officers, the application seeks to allow for development of these areas, with repairs and upgrades of the Grade II listed surfaces in the Market Place and Victoria Square.
The surfaces date back to the 18th century or early 19th century and the proposals make it clear these will be protected, recognising their importance and significance.
Developed in consultation with key stakeholders, the plans for Market Place and Victoria Square include replacing the area of tarmac in the Market Place with limestone setts to match existing and local character.
Existing Street furniture will be replaced and upgraded, and lighting is also being reviewed for potential improvements.
A small number of short stay parking bays are included within the design on the southeast corner, including a disabled bay, and along the eastern edge of the Market Place, with additional on-street parking proposed close-by. Trees will also be planted, selected for their low impact root systems and the ability to absorb pollutants in the air, to add much needed greenery to the Market Place.
The development of Ashbourne Methodist Church into a multi-purpose community hub is another important part of the overall Ashbourne Reborn programme – and an application for full planning permission and listed building consent for the Link Community Hub has been submitted to the District Council and is expected to be determined next month.
The proposals include creating a new glass-sided link building and reception area which will act as the new main entrance from Station Road to the church. This building will connect directly to the main worship area, Century Hall, Cornerstone café, Gateway and Waterside.
This will allow the church to strengthen its role in the community over the coming decades by providing better venues for community use including meeting spaces of different sizes, better facilities for cultural events and different forms of worship and improved facilities, access and safeguarding.
The Planning Committee meeting on 14 November can be viewed below:
- Local people can be kept informed about the progress of Ashbourne Reborn online and by signing up for email updates.