Sutton town centre could be regenerated through 'future high street fund'

Sutton town centre has been named as one of the towns set to receive key investment in the second phase of a government regeneration scheme.

Ashfield District Council had previously seen its bid for the first phase of the Future High Streets Fund rejected by the government, but told it had put forward a "strong" and "positive" bid for funding.

Sutton town centre.

Sutton town centre.

But now Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed dozens of towns across the UK will receive funds as part of the second round, and the council can now put forward a bid to receive up to £25 million to regenerate Sutton town centre.

It follows news that the council had plans for a Sutton 'town centre masterplan', which could see regeneration opportunities and a possible pedestrianisation of areas like Outram Street, in a bid to promote more footfall in the town.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council, said: “Our officers worked hard to put together a submission that outlined a strong case for Sutton town centre. I am delighted that our hard work has now paid off.

"It was disappointing for all concerned when we didn’t make the first 50, I knew how strong our submission was and wrote to the government encouraging them to increase the number of towns benefiting from the fund.

"We will now proceed in drawing up plans for the next stage.”

The extension to the shortlist comes on the back of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund announced last month, which included an additional £325 million for the Future High Streets Fund, taking the overall Fund to £1 billion as the Government looks to drive forward local growth.

If successful, Ashfield District Council will be able to access up to £150k to implement plans for Sutton town centre, that include improved pedestrian and public transport links into the town, investment in empty buildings and an improved offer within the town centre.

Coun Zadrozny added: “The council is fully committed to the regeneration of Sutton town centre and the recent investments from the likes of Wetherspoons and Angling Direct demonstrate that retailers share the vision too.

"Our investment in Idlewells indoor market is allowing independent retailers to thrive, and funding from the Future High Streets fund would allow us to build on the work and investment that has already taken place.

"This will turn Sutton into a vibrant hub where people want to shop and do business.”

Martin Rigley, chairman of Discover Ashfield, said: “As chairman of the place marketing group, Discover Ashfield, the news that we have made it to the shortlist for the Future High Street Fund is very exciting.

"Sutton town centre is really at the heart of the community both for residents and visitors, so the potential to bring a fresh look would bring a much needed sense of pride and boost to Sutton.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Our high streets are right at the heart of our communities, and I will do everything I can to make sure they remain vibrant places where people want to go, meet and spend their money.

"But with our town centres facing challenges, we’re today expanding the High Streets Fund to support over 100 high streets to regenerate – backed by £1 billion of vital investment."