North East Derbyshire District Council has submitted applications to the Government for two major funding schemes aiming to develop the living environment and economic opportunities in the district.
Competing nationally against other areas through the Levelling Up Fund Round 2, the Council’s ‘Elevating Eckington’ bid for Eckington Town Centre has been developed in partnership with Eckington Parish Council, Derbyshire County Council and local stakeholders.
The request for approximately £17.8m will be used with funding provided by partners to:
- Re-develop the ‘Southgate House’ area of Council-owned shops and flats to be a more modern, low carbon and fit for purpose set of units.
- Improve the connectivity between the Leisure Centre and the town centre.
- New public realm created and improved throughout the town centre, including the development of a new central ‘town square’ area to act as a focal point for events and activities and foster a local ‘café culture.’
- Re-develop Northgate House to create a new fit for purpose low carbon building.
- Create new employment spaces and opportunities for new businesses to locate into the town, enhancing job opportunities and footfall during the day.
- Improved and increased car parking, enabling people to easily visit the town.
- A new Activity Hub developed in Lansbury Park, providing a new café, a large new multi-age play area, a 3G sports pitch, a skate park and nature and dog agility areas.
At a District-wide level, the Council has also identified its plans to utilise the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund in consultation with local representative groups.
The focus for the activity, which has a budget of circa £2.5m, will be community improvements that increase local pride of place and attract inward investment and visitors and includes:
- Town Centre improvements, including public space and support to businesses to develop their shop fronts and premises.
- The development of green space and route ways, through investments in parks and play areas and signage to promote sustainable travel links.
- Promoting the District and its cultural offer and enhancing village halls and community hubs.
- Support towards social and financial inclusion activities.
- The provision of advice and guidance for businesses.
- Training in skills to enable local workers to harness opportunities in energy efficiency.
North East Derbyshire District Councillor, Jeremy Kenyon, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “We are constantly looking for new ways to develop our towns and district through funding opportunities.
If our £17.8m bid is successful, it will give us the chance to make some fantastic improvements for Eckington residents. It will completely re-shape Eckington, providing a new town square, new shops and food and drink outlets, a new park, and many more employment opportunities for local residents.
We are aware of the incredibly stiff competition for this funding and all of the work we’ve done in preparing the bid will stand us in good stead to keep applying and lobbying for Eckington should it not be successful this time.
The £2.5m Shared Prosperity Fund will give us further opportunities to make our District an even greater place to live, invest, work and visit, with a particular focus on public facing works such as play areas, shop frontages and public space.
If we are successful in harnessing these additional resources, we can accelerate our commitment to ensure that North East Derbyshire is a business friendly District where our residents’ quality of life is enhanced and the character of our District is promoted.”
Both bids will now be appraised and reviewed by the Government and it is expected that successful bids will be announced in late Autumn 2022.