Green light for Sutton centre master plan

Sutton Town Centre
Sutton Town Centre

Councillors have given the green light to plans to transform Sutton in a multi-millon regeneration project which would make it vibrant and exciting for decades to come.

Earlier this year the council opened public consultation with Ashfield residents to discuss what they believe can be improved about the town centre and surrounding area..

On Monday the council’s cabinet voted in favour of a recommendation to accept changes to the new Sutton in Ashfield Town Centre Masterplan to bring future investment including an estimated £5 million pound bid to the Government’s Future High Street Fund.

The aim of the consultation was to establish a common understanding of Sutton town centre, analysing its character and identity.

The council also plans to develop a clear vision for Sutton town centre, guide its development and improvements to future-proof the town for the next 30-40 years.

Carol Cooper Smith interim head of place and communities told councillors: “This is a really important document because it will influence what we do for a considerable number of years so it was important to go out to the community with a meaningful consultation.

“Sutton has got some fantastic architecture it has town squares and everything going for it but we can’t just go into the future with Sutton as a retail centre it has to have other things to attract people.”

A total of 88 representations were received following the formal consultation period.

The draft Spatial Masterplan has been modified and findings and issues by the consultation raised.

* 72 per cent of respondents agreed with the Vision for Sutton Town Centre.

* 84 per cent of respondents agreed with the concept of a Historic Core (based around the old market place), comprising of services industries, cultural and residential uses.

* 68 per cent of respondents agreed that the opportunities set out in the masterplan will improve the attractiveness of the gateway and entrances to the town centre.

Suggested day times uses and activities included: seasonal activities - Christmas market and summer on the beach;  better selection of good quality shops;  green Space; a continental and farmers market; less cheap discount shops; bistro type establishments with great outdoor space.

* Children’s activities -  Community hub and exhibition centre; community advice centre; street performers

* Evening economy - suggested evening uses and activities included: good quality restaurants and pubs; better lighting; music venue for live music; leisure activities – cinema, bowling, theatre

The area behind Wilko’s including the conservative club could be made into an urban park and something made of the River Idle.

Portland Square should be re-opened to through traffic, possibly one way.

The meeting at the council offices was attended by Sutton Community academy pupils Sophie Wilmott and Jamie Beckett, who told councillors their views.

Sophie told the meeting: “Coming from my point of view we should improve on leisure. I come out of school and there is nothing to do.

There are some shops in the town square with a sundial on it but there should be a cinema on Portland Square or on one of the car parks .

If there was something fun to do there you would get families from the local area to come in and have fun .

It would be good if I could just decide to go and watch a film after school.!”

Jamie said: “In Sutton I feel there are a lot of the same type of shops. A lot are quite cheap in the things they produce and are generally like small supermarkets, very cheap food based stores and .

“It is unable to expand because it is doing the same type of thing over and over again.

“I think Sutton needs to have a cornerstone . I think Idlewells with a lot of renovation could provide something like that.

“Quite often if ever I need something, I can’t get it in from Sutton I need to go to Mansfield Four Seasons.”