Multi-million pound plans to redevelop Bolsover town centre are going from strength-to-strength despite supermarket firm Morrisons u-turn on a major store development.
Bolsover District Council completed the sale of Sherwood Lodge to Morrisons in August 2014 with a new supermarket due to be constructed.
As part of the deal it was agreed Morrisons would construct a new Council Contact Centre and Police Station on Middle Street in the town.
However, in June 2015 Morrisons undertook a strategic review of their sites and they withdrew their store plans and put the Sherwood Lodge site, off Oxcroft Lane, up for sale
Despite concerns, the council has now confirmed plans for a new centre and police station are back on track after they have earmarked a new location for the centre at the former NatWest Bank, on Cotton Street.
Bolsover Police Station will remain in the town centre and will relocate the short distance to Oxcroft House, currently occupied by Derbyshire County Council, Social Services.
Bolsover District Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Mary Dooley, said: “We are delighted that plans to redevelop the town can finally move forward.
“When we first looked at options for the relocation of our Contact Centre from Sherwood Lodge, there weren’t any suitable, vacant premises, available in the town - that’s why we agreed to build new premises on Middle Street.
“However, since then the former NatWest Bank property became available and we felt that this was an ideal site for our Contact Centre.
“We have listened to the comments of residents and feel this is this option for the town, as it will not only bring back into use an empty property, but also provides a public toilet and means that the Middle Street car park will remain as that - a car park.
“In terms of the Sherwood Lodge site, the aim of the council remains the same, that the site is used to bring forward a regeneration scheme which will have a positive impact on the town centre and we will continue to work with Morrisons to make sure this is achieved.”
The concerned council is continuing discussions with Morrisons to try and resolve the situation and to forge the best outcome for the town.
It has so far forged the following agreements:
The money allocated to build the new Contact Centre as part of the initial agreement with Morrisons has been returned to the council;
The new Contact Centre will be relocated into the former NatWest Bank, on Cotton Street - a property that was not previously available and is more suited for the Contact Centre.
The Contact Centre will also include Jobcentre Plus and a public toilet that will be available for use from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Middle Street will be retained and fully re-instated as a public car park.
Bolsover Police Station will stay in the town centre and will relocate to Oxcroft House, which is currently occupied by Derbyshire County Council, Social Services.
Morrisons have also announced they have chosen a preferred developer for the Sherwood Lodge site that will see a combined food and non-food retail development together with assisted living accommodation, which aims to provide a sympathetic mix of uses to complement and enhance the sites historic context and town centre.
A Morrisons spokesperson said: “This has been a lengthy process but we are pleased that progress is being made towards starting work on site.
“We, along with the developer and Bolsover District Council want this site to be used by the community and would like to thank everyone for their patience during this time.”