Ashfield District Council defends bid to improve town

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Ashfield District Council leader Chris Baron has defended ‘inevitable’ disruption to some businesses while work is carried out to improve Kirkby town centre.

He was responding to the Chad’s front page story last week in which many traders said the work was driving away customers and hitting profits.

Coun Baron said:“The council is committed to improving its town centres throughout the district and is currently actively pursuing significant investment in Hucknall, Sutton as well as Kirkby. In line with these ambitions and aspirations Kirkby town centre has, in recent years, benefited from significant investment which has seen the arrival of Morrisons supermarket and The Regent public house as well as others.

“In order to attract additional private sector investment to further increase the town centre’s retail offer, the council has invested and secured European funding to improve the pedestrianised section of Lowmoor Road, which was in a poor condition, and also create a first class public realm and event space.

“We are confident that this will create a catalyst to increase footfall for the benefit of town centre’s visitors and businesses.

“A degree of inconvenience during such a major project is inevitable but this short term disruption will ultimately lead to a more attractive and vibrant town centre with increased trade for local shops and the market.”

He said the work had been planned to allow access to all businesses at all times.

Work on Station road up to Boots is set to be completed this week and work continuing on the Plaza and the area towards Morrison’s car park to be completed by the end of April.

He said prior to any works starting, officers from the council had liaised with the businesses within the immediate area.

Coun Baron added: “The council will be providing support for traders where it is evident that the businesses have suffered as a direct result of the scheme. If businesses have suffered particular hardship, this will be considered on an individual basis.”