Hucknall: Council to bid for £20 million of levelling up funding to spend on the town

Ashfield District Council has appointed a consultant to help draw up its bid of up to £20 million for the Levelling Up Fund in Hucknall.

And further details have been provided on what the bid will entail, with the council to focus on transport connectivity and town centre regeneration across up to three separate projects.

The company Integrated Transport Planning Ltd had been selected to consult on drawing up the bid following a procurement process, with the contract to cost £25,175.

This will be funded from a one-off payment from the authority’s economic development and place reserves.

Ashfield District Council is planning to bid for £20 million of levelling up funding for Hucknall

Documents published by the council confirm the consultant will help to draw up the bid to be submitted ‘sometime in spring 2022’.

Details of the full bid are yet to be publicly confirmed by the council.

But the documents, approved by the authority last week, show it will focus on the ‘improvement of the transport infrastructure to the north and east of Hucknall’ as well as town centre ‘cultural’ developments.

The report says: “The bid will sit within a wider network of connectivity aspirations across the district, Nottinghamshire and beyond.

“In response to the amount of growth and pressures that Hucknall has experienced over the past ten years, the focus of the Levelling Up bid is primarily improvement of the transport infrastructure to the north and east of Hucknall, and town centre regeneration and development of the cultural offer.

“The bid will be a package bid of up to three mutually-supportive projects, in the region of £10 million to £20 million (total bid).

“The council has not yet scoped out an estimate for the funding.

"The schemes are not developed, with no long list of interventions with indicative costs.”

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It follows the authority publishing its draft town centre masterplan for Hucknall this week, setting out what it describes as ‘ambitious’ proposals to make Hucknall ‘diverse and resilient’.

The 38-page document, which will be reviewed by the cabinet on March 29, confirmed a transport hub will be prioritised around the tram and railway station to help get more people into the town centre.

The authority also plans to improve shop fronts and move away from large scale shutters, opening up shops and creating a more ‘vibrant’ town centre.

Other plans include potential murals, street art and ‘living walls’, as well as bringing old town centre buildings back into use for retail, leisure, food and drink and residential purposes.

And the authority also wants to build off the town’s increasingly-active night time economy, utilising the successes of numerous pubs and bars and the Byron Cinema to give the town a ‘unique selling point’.

The council says details within the masterplan will underpin elements of its Levelling Up bid.

Full details of this bid are currently being drawn up alongside the Discover Ashfield board, the newly-appointed consultants and Hucknall’s MP Mark Spencer (Con).

The bid is expected to be submitted in the second round of the Levelling Up Fund this year, alongside similar bids in Mansfield, Nottingham and Bassetlaw.

It comes after the council was successful in obtaining £62.6 million from the Towns Fund, to improve Sutton and Kirkby, with another £6.27 million secured for Sutton in the Future High Streets fund.