New Hucknall town centre masterplan to go out for public consultation

Residents in Hucknall will have the opportunity to give Ashfield District Council their thoughts on its new masterplan aimed at shaping the future of the town centre.

By Andrew Topping
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 4:30 pm

It comes after the authority’s cabinet approved a four-week consultation on the major 38-page plan, with events to be held throughout April and May.

The document was first published by the council last week and sets out plans to ‘breathe new life’ into the town and surrounding suburbs.

Plans within the document include bringing derelict or disused town centre buildings back to life for retail, food and drink, leisure or even residential purposes.

Have your say on the new Hucknall town centre masterplan when it goes out for public consultation

A transport hub will also be prioritised near the railway and tram station to bring people into the town, while the authority wants to build off the successes of businesses like the newly-opened Arc Cinema complex.

Other elements of the plan include moving away from shutters on high street stores to open up shop fronts and bringing in murals, street art and ‘living walls’ to make the town centre ‘vibrant’.

Details within the masterplan will shape the authority’s £20 million bid for the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, which is currently being drawn up and is expected to be submitted in the coming weeks.

The authority last week appointed a consultant to help in drawing up the bid, which will follow successful bids totalling £70 million for the Towns Fund and Future High Streets funds in Kirkby and Sutton.

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At a council cabinet meeting on March 29, councillors welcomed the launch of the consultation and said they were keen to ‘see what the people think’.

Coun John Wilmott (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall North, is the authority’s portfolio holder for licensing, environmental health and regulatory services.

He said: “I’m over the moon this masterplan is going before the people, and I’m glad it is.

“Consultation is very important – I want to see what the people think about it, not what we think about it.

“We’ve got a great opportunity here to raise the profile of Hucknall. It’s got to happen.

“We need to encourage quality retailers and businesses into the town centre and publicise the fact Hucknall has so much to offer.”

Coun Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), leader of the authority, confirmed details of the masterplan will be the ‘backbone’ for the Levelling Up Fund bid.

He said: “Hucknall is very important to the administration and to the authority, there’s a huge amount in this as Hucknall has always been a priority.

“There’s lots of investment and good stuff to come, and this is the backbone to a strong Levelling Up Fund bid to come so we can make a strong case to Government that Hucknall needs the funding.

“It’s about education, aspiration, creating good jobs and retention, I think it’s exactly what people deserve.

“Hucknall is already our most vibrant town centre but we need good quality jobs, so when people come back from university or wherever, they know there are opportunities to stay local.

“With the tram links Hucknall already does that, but we also want to bring people in, retain people.”

He added the authority has ‘learned the processes’ of the Government’s bidding system following previous successful bids, believing the Hucknall plans will be ‘strong’.

And Coun Dave Hennigan (Ind), who represents Central Sutton and New Cross, believes the masterplan is ‘sensible’.

He said: “We need to build off the back of businesses like the Arc Cinema and that’s exactly what this does.

“This is a sensible plan for a sensible time and I hope it will be a springboard to a successful Levelling Up Fund bid.”

Numerous drop-in consultation events will be held by the authority to allow Hucknall residents to have their say on the plans.

The council is expected to publish details of the events in full on its website, while the 38-page document will also be displayed in public buildings, such as libraries.