Vision of future for Hucknall town centre

HUCKNALL TOWN CENTRE -- earmarked for major investment, according to the 'Vision For The Future' report.
HUCKNALL TOWN CENTRE -- earmarked for major investment, according to the 'Vision For The Future' report.

A PIONEERING strategy aimed at providing jobs and services in and around Hucknall town centre has been given the green light by Ashfield District Council’s Cabinet.

The ‘Vision For The Future’ scheme would also mean investment with the object of revitalising other parts of the town.

The groundbreaking and ambitious plan encompasses a combined objective to achieve improvements in housing, the local economy and transport.

Presenting a report to the council, deputy leader, Coun John Wilmott (Lab), of Hucknall, said this initiative was part of the Sherwood Forest Local Investment Plan (LIP), resulting from many months of “excellent” work between Ashfield, Mansfield and Newark and Sherwood District Councils.

Coun Wilmott said LIPs were ten-to-15 year frameworks which set out priority projects and initiatives for investment by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

“While the primary focus of HCA investment is related to housing, LIPs also take into account the supporting investment for regeneration, transport and economic development,” said Coun Wilmott. “This would ensure that growth was sustainable and benefited the quality of life of our communities.”

He went on to say the LIP built upon valuable partnership arrangements which the council already enjoyed. It strengthened the work of the Joint Housing Board and supported the efforts of other initiatives, such as the Sherwood Growth Zone Partnership.

Coun Wilmott said the bottom line was that the council wanted the Sherwood Forest area, including Hucknall, to be a place of choice to live, learn and work.

He added: “We want to do everything possible to help people to fulfil their potential and aspirations.

“The scheme is aimed at giving our residents a good quality of life and enabling them to live in decent, affordable homes in thriving communities. These will be within sustainable and vibrant towns and smaller centres, supporting a viable and prosperous population and employment base.

“The LIP will be a living document. An officer steering group will help to bring it to fruition, with partnership agencies also involved.

“I hope the Cabinet agrees that the document provides a comprehensive framework for future action. I think this scheme is an exciting and positive way forward for the council to get involved in.”

As far as Hucknall is concerned, the proposals fit in with current aims to regenerate the town centre, contained in a masterplan produced by the council — although this hinges very much on the long-delayed proposals for the town-centre bypass and part-pedestrianisation of High Street.

The report pointed out that the LIP was generally seen as beneficial because it would help councils to identify local priorities and decide which investment decisions were appropriate.