Ashfield District Council welcomes 'once-in-a-lifetime' £50m fund for Sutton and Kirkby

Kirkby town centre.
Kirkby town centre.

News that Ashfield is to receive "once-in-a-lifetime" £50million of funding from Central Government has been hailed by the district council.

The government announced today that Sutton and Kirkby town centres are to receive £25million each, to be ring-fenced for projects the council wants to start.

Sutton town centre.

Sutton town centre.

It is part of the new 'Town Funds', which aims to pump funds into town centres across the country, with Kirkby and Sutton part of 100 areas to receive the funding.

And the news has been welcomed by Ashfield District Council, describing it as "long-overdue" and part of a sustained effort by stakeholders such as the Discover Ashfield board to secure government backing in our towns.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny, leader of the council, said: "I have been working with council officers over the past year to fight for much needed funding.

"Everyone knows that our town centres have been overlooked for too long.

"When I took over as leader of the council improving our town centres was a huge priority for us.

“This news is the culmination of a huge team effort from so many people. Make no mistake that without our vision and ambition we would not be in a position to secure this once-in-a-lifetime funding, it is a long overdue boost.

“In Kirkby, this money is on top of the £14million for our new leisure destination including two swimming pools.

"In Sutton, we also have bids in for 'High Street Heritage Action Zone Fund' of up to £3m and the Future High Streets Fund of up to £25m.

“With 1,800 jobs set to come to Summit Park in the near future and a many more exciting projects across the district, this really is ‘boom-time’ for Ashfield.”

The district's Labour MP has also welcomed the funding, but hit out at the government for providing a "sticking plaster" to disguise levels of cuts to council funds since 2010.

Gloria De Piero said: “Any funding for Ashfield is welcome, but this move has to be seen for what it is – a small sticking plaster over the gaping wound of underinvestment and cuts that our community has suffered under this government since 2010.

“Local councils across the country have seen around £7.3 billion of cuts thanks to nine years of austerity, leaving them barely able to provide the functions they are legally required to, never mind invest in town centres, culture and infrastructure.

“We need sustained and targeted investment, not just a one-off gift.

“The Conservatives have failed places like our for too long and it will take more than this for people here to forget that.