Kimberley will be ‘put on the map’ through new Levelling Up funding

By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

Millions of pounds of investment in Kimberley will put the town on the map after years of the area being “overlooked”, it is hoped.

The town will benefit from major investment after the Government announced it has been selected to receive £16.5m from the Levelling Up Fund.
Extra support from Broxtowe Borough Council will bring the total to £20m.
Businesses and councillors in the area said it was “amazing” news for the town which they said has been “overlooked” in the past.

Details of successful bids to the latest round of the Levelling Up Fund were revealed on January 18 – Kimberley made the cut for funding but Eastwood did not.

The Kimberley bid includes town centre improvements, new industrial units and upgrades to its cycle network.

Rumbletums Community Cafe in the town provides training and work experience for young people with learning disabilities.

Trustee Sarah Rauch said the funding was “massive” for the town.

Councillor Neil Docherty, Trevor Rood chairman of Kimberley Parish council and councillor Neil Oakden

She said: “Kimberley is often quite overlooked as it is a smaller community.

“I think it’s about time that we were able to get some help.

“The town needs some TLC to make it a place people would like to visit because it has lots to offer.”

As part of the plans, a new business and community hub will be constructed in place of the existing Parish Hall on Newdigate Street, offering co-working and office space for start-ups and small businesses.

The current football pitch at Digby Street will also be redeveloped into 20 new industrial units to allow new businesses to move into Kimberley, driving job creation and economic growth.

A new sports facility at Swingate Farm will be developed in its place, with a new football and cricket pitch.

A new active travel route will also link up Kimberley with Eastwood, Giltbrook, Phoenix Park Tram Stop and Bennerley Viaduct.

The Oat Shed is a cafe in Kimberley with a focus on local produce.

Co-owner Beth Hemmings, 25, supported the idea of encouraging more independent businesses in the town.

She said: “I think it’s amazing news, it will really help the area.

“Within a five-mile radius of Kimberley, there aren’t many independents. We are lucky to have the ones we do.

“Hopefully it will help the small businesses that are already here and encourage new places, to get the high street looking amazing.

“Customers still come here despite the cost of living crisis, but from a business side, the costs are through the roof.”

Rumbletums trustee Sarah Rauch
Neil Oakden, a Kimberley Town Councillor, said the bid had been in the making for three years. He sat on the Levelling Up Fund bid committee.
He said: “The bid will fulfil many of the things Kimberley needs.
“The parish hall is going to be replaced by a three storey business and community hub with a state of the art lighting system.
“We will have £15,000 grants for all of the businesses in Kimberley to renovate their shop fronts.
“A small sports complex which will replace the existing Digby Street football club which is going to be converted into business units.
“It’s going to make a massive difference in Kimberley. I was really surprised we won it but we did put in an awful lot of effort.
“We cannot wait for this immense change for Kimberley, it will really put us on the map.”
Another Kimberley town councillor, Neil Doherty, worked on the part of the bid which focused on active travel.
He said: “One of the great things about this bid is it makes use of the facilities we’ve got like old railway lines and joins them up.
“We’ll be able to get to the Bennerley Viaduct which is a world monument you can’t get to at the moment on a bike.
“Kimberley is a thriving town but it hasn’t had any real investment for as long as I know. It’s amazing that finally, we have got some investment for the centre of the town to make it smarter and greener.”
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