By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
An ambitious bid for £11m Government funding could turn Hucknall town centre into the “beating heart” of Ashfield, say councillors.
Ashfield District Council’s application to the Levelling-Up Fund will focus on improving transport connectivity, heritage, skills and economic regeneration.
The £11m proposals include plans to create a “future-proof workforce”, support shopfront improvements and expand Hucknall’s outdoor markets.
Hucknall’s heritage would also be celebrated with a new visitor experience at St Mary Magdalene Church, focusing on famous Hucknall residents.
Cllr Lee Waters, ward member for Hucknall North (Ind) told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the bid would “fulfil our vision of creating a vibrant, thriving town centre”.
The funding would be used for shopfront improvement grants, start up grants and the possible expansion of Hucknall’s outdoor markets.
Public space would also be improved around the Byron Cinema to create a “welcoming entrance” into Hucknall town centre.
A new 3G sports pitch is planned, as well as the creation of a new app to encourage residents and visitors to travel around Hucknall using more sustainable methods.
Cllr Waters said: “It is hugely ambitious and will be one of the biggest investments in our town for decades.
“It will focus on improving the life chances of residents, turbo charging investment, fast tracking public transport improvements – all whilst remembering our heritage.
“This is our chance to make significant change that will be benefit Hucknall for generations to come.
“It has been produced by UK’s most successful bid team. The people at Ashfield District Council who put together the Town’s Fund bids for Kirkby and Sutton – bids that won more than double any other council in the UK.”
Cllr Matthew Relf, Executive Lead Member for Regeneration and Corporate Transformation added: “Hucknall town centre has the potential to be the beating heart of the District and this bid capitalises on this.
“We aim to improve the access into the town to attract more visitors, and businesses to reinvigorate the town centre. The cultural and heritage enhancements will celebrate Hucknall’s rich heritage and provide new opportunities for people to learn about this history.
“This bid is tremendous and represents the Council’s ambitions for Hucknall to be a modern, fantastic place to live, work and visit.”
Levelling-up is a policy devised by Boris Johnson’s Conservative government which aims to address imbalances between different areas across the UK.
It is expected that an announcement will be made by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the autumn, indicating if the bids have been successful.