Now it’s down to the wire

The Crescent, Buxton misses out on government funding
The Crescent, Buxton misses out on government funding

Hopes that a new government fund would fill a £5 million funding gap in the £32 million redevelopment of the Crescent have been dealt a blow this week.

The project’s bid to the Regional Growth Fund, to cover the funds lost by the axing of the East Midlands Development Agency, was not among 50 out of 464 applications that succeeded in attracting a share of £450 million.

A High Peak Borough Council spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that our funding bid was not successful in round one but understand that at this stage preference has gone to disadvantaged areas.

“Recently we were awarded £500,000 by English Heritage and we will be discussing all funding streams with our partners, including our invitation to apply to the larger main round where we are more hopeful of success at this stage.

“Throughout this project there have been many obstacles, most of which have now been overcome, and through the commitment of partners we are determined to see the delivery of the £32 million spa hotel development.”

Trevor Osborne, speaking for the Council’s Development Partner, said: “The funding gap left by the disbandment of the Regional Development Agency must be filled if the Project is to proceed. We will, of course, work closely with Derbyshire County Council and High Peak Borough Council to find other sources to complete the funding. The Project is so important to Buxton’s future that every effort must be made to find a solution.”

High Peak MP Andrew Bingham said most of the money was in place for the redevelopment of the Grade 1 listed building, with the RGF a small part of it.

He said he would continue to lobby ministers during the second round of bids when £1 billion would be available.

“We have had difficulties and obstacles throughout the history of this tale and this is the latest and I hope the last,” said Mr Bingham.

Labour’s Parliamentary spokesperson for High Peak Caitlin Bisknell said she was disappointed but not surprised, as the RGF had only a fraction of the funds previously available.

“The Crescent was a relatively small funding bid and it was ready to go,” she said.

“This scheme is important not just locally, but regionally and nationally.

“It seems particularly cruel given that all the parties and legal issues seemed to be on the verge of resolution.

“I certainly hope that a way forward can still be found.”