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Budget cuts halt Civic Square plan

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: December 23, 2013

  • 19/12/13 Civic Square

  • 19/12/13 Civic Square

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A PLAN to revamp a popular shoppers’ walk-through in the town centre has been shelved due to council budget constraints.

The vision of a transformed Civic Square, the paved area between Waitrose and the New Library, had been touted as a ‘completely new appearance’ for the area which, at the time, was due to be boosted by the on-going construction of the town’s new library.

Drawings were produced that showed a new surface to replace the tired paving and even the embedding of ornate markers pointing to each Shrovetide goal - but a statement was released last week suggesting the county council, which changed from a Conservative to a Labour administration in May, has now gone cold on the idea in the face of budget cuts.

A spokesman for the authority said: “We had explored working with landowner Derbyshire Dales District Council to jointly fund the improvement of the area between Ashbourne Library and the Waitrose store with new paving.

“However, the £157m of cuts we are being forced to make over the next five years means we have to look very closely at where we prioritise spending and we will not now be involved in the scheme.”

Until recently the district council had fenced the area off for safety reasons after the paving slabs became uneven. A few days after the News Telegraph asked when repairs would be carried out the fencing had been removed and a ‘temporary’ repair had been carried out - but no word has yet been given on when or if a more permanent repair might take place.

A wider project to revamp Compton with a ‘shared space’ traffic scheme and herring-bone parking is still on the cards, after it was approved by the county council under the local transport plan for 2013-14.

A spokesman for the authority, which has already set aside £150,000 for the scheme, said: “We’re currently working on designs for pavement and carriageway changes and hope to be in a position to consult on them early in the new year.”

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