Looking back on an eventful 2019 across Ashfield - and what 2020 has to offer

With 2019 now consigned to the history books, we are taking a look back on the past 12 months and the big developments seen across Ashfield since January 1, 2019. 

From a new member of parliament in Lee Anderson to the construction of a huge distribution warehouse bringing more than 1,800 jobs, there have been some big changes to Ashfield since this time last year. 

It was a busy year for Ashfield District Council, with 2019 starting with the second-annual Big Spring Clean – seeing Ashfield residents dispose of 266 tones of waste as 3,245 homes took advantage of free bulky waste collections throughout February and March.

February also saw construction start on the huge Summit Park distribution centre, an investment described by the council leader Councillor Jason Zadrozny as the “single biggest private sector investment” in the region for decades.  

The beloved Nag’s Head Clock in Kirkby returned to its original position outside the Nag’s Head pub in March following public demand, while Ashfield residents also went to the polls in May to give the Ashfield Independents a 25-seat majority in the council as the party took 30 out of the 35 council seats. 

In the spring, the council also announced a number of investments within the district. These included Wetherspoon’s in Sutton announcing plans for a major investment in the Picture House.

Sutton business Really Good Group Ltd, which owns local business RGMM as well as the sportswear brand QSW, invested in new state of the art premises and has transformed the former DWP building on High Pavement into a design and manufacturing studio.

The summer saw six of the district’s parks retain their green flag status. Brierley Forest Park, Selston Country Park, Kingsway Park, Sutton Lawn, Portland Park and Titchfield Park, Hucknall received the prestigious award that recognises the very best parks in the world.

And in July the council also appointed its first female chief executive, after Carol Cooper-Smith replaced the departing Rob Mitchell who officially left his role in September. 

Ashfield District Council also placed an emphasis on the environment throughout 2019, launching its ‘Green Agenda' by planting the first community orchard at Sutton Lawn in October in a bid to see more than 1,000 trees planted in the next four years. 

And 20 electric charging points were installed across the district as the council looks to reduce emissions across the area’s roads. 

The council also launched a rolling programme to ensure the district’s war memorials are cleaned annually for the Remembrance Day commemorations, while three Christmas festivals brought in the festive season in November and December. 

In Sutton, the Idlewells Indoor Market bucked the national trend by seeing both an increase in footfall and more than 80 per cent occupancy, while it was revealed that up to £75 million in funding could come from central government to boost Sutton and Kirkby. 

Looking forward into 2020, Coun Zadrozny said: “The council faces huge challenges this year in terms of budgets.

“With no money coming directly from the government for the first time, we are looking to build on our current investments to ensure we are generating enough money to continue providing high quality services to residents.

“We will be holding the Big Spring Clean for the third time in February. This will be the biggest yet and we will be providing residents with details over the next few weeks.

“We’ve also got the opening of the Byron Cinema in Hucknall to look forward to in the spring. It’ll be fantastic to have all the latest blockbusters available in the district.

“The Mill Waters project will also make strides with the new café opening at Kings Mill Reservoir in the spring. The new leisure destination will continue to move forward and is on track for its 2021 opening.

“This is an exciting year for the council and the district and we look forward to delivering a wide range of projects to benefit residents.”