EXCITING plans to ‘re-energise’ part of Ashbourne look set to get under way, with the town’s new library at the centre of a series of forthcoming developments.
Derbyshire County Council wants to transform Civic Square, while Derbyshire Dales District Council is weighing up how to spend a £144,000 windfall following the planned extension of Sainsbury’s supermarket.
The completion of the new library and information centre, which is due shortly after Shrovetide, is hoped to provide a springboard for the plans and council bosses say it is ‘great news’ for Ashbourne.
Commenting on the proposed alterations to Civic Square, which runs between Waitrose and the new library, Derbyshire County Council leader Andrew Lewer said: “I think that when people see the new streetscape, plus this new building and the landscaping in Civic Square, the whole area will take on a completely new appearance.
It’s a development which will attract people to this part of Ashbourne and it will help to re-energise the part of the town on the south of the River Henmore.” The two authorities are still working together to move a plan forward which could see part of Compton pedestrianised, with ‘herring-bone’ parking, and a pioneering ‘shared space’ concept on the wish list.
However Derbyshire Dales District Council insists the money it has procured from the Sainsbury’s extention will be spent on ‘signage’ and ‘linkage’ and that it can not be channelled into any other scheme.
A spokesman said: “The district council has of course discussed in some detail with Derbyshire County Council the wider redevelopment programme they have in mind for Ashbourne.
“However we should stress that the concept of shared space in Compton and Dig Street extends way beyond the £144,000 we have secured from Sainsbury’s as their contribution to improving pedestrian links and signage between the new store and the town centre.
“We’re happy for the £144,000 to feed into the county council’s bigger scheme, but it is our responsibility to ensure that the money is used only for the purposes for which it was negotiated and secured through a legal agreement.” Under section 106 of the town and country planning act, council planners are entitled to negotiate funding from a developer to benefit the surrounding community.
The £144,000 Derbyshire Dales District Council planners have secured from the forthcoming Sainsbury’s extension, which is still subject to a final legal agreement, will be spent on improving pedestrian access and signs to and from the store.