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.
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.
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.”