Work has started on a new £1.022m plaza and improvement scheme for Kirkby Town Centre which is set to be completed by March next year.
Ashfield District Council (ADC) hopes the ‘long overdue’ revamp, which includes a new public space off Ellis Street and improvements to the nearby shopping precinct, will help boost the town centre.
The stoned-paved plaza will replace the car park off Ellis Street and feature a series of artworks, including bronze statues of local famous cricketers.
Councillor Jim Aspinall said: “With the arrival of Morrisons, Wetherspoons and siting of the Post Office in the precinct, Kirkby will now develop into a very pleasant town centre.
“Much credit has to go to the Ashfield officers and members of the Kirkby town centre regeneration group for all the hard work that has been put into the regeneration of the town centre.”
He added that the authority has been negotiating with Nottinghamshire County Council and bus firm Trentbarton to solve traffic flow problems in the town centre.
The project has been funded by contributions from developers who are building on Lindley’s Lane and Morrisons the supermarket and £403,365 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
The existing statue of Harold Larwood will be re-sited near the library and a sculpture will also be commissioned near the Nags Head pub to mark the entrance to the pedestrianised area.
Coun John Knight is currently in talks with Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and the Australian Cricket board who, he said, are keen to be contribute towards the Larwood, Voce, Bradman “bodyline” centerpiece.
He added: “I honestly believe that next year will see the town rejuvenated like no other has been in the whole of the East Midlands.”
An artist will work with local schools and groups to produce images on cultural and sporting themes for an ‘art wall’ leading from the main shopping area down into the plaza.
Coun Chris Baron, leader of ADC, added: “The improvements to Kirkby are long overdue and the much needed European funding is greatly welcomed.
“Town centre development is one of the top priorities of the authority. Work is progressing on Hucknall and now in Kirkby and the Masterplan for Sutton is in the development stages. I hope that the residents of Kirkby make full use of the new facilities.”