Buxton awarded £6.6 million to regenerate town centre

Buxton has been awarded £6.6 million to regenerate the town centre, it has been confirmed.

Saturday, 26th December 2020, 7:00 am

The funding is from the Future High Streets Fund (FHSF), a government initiative designed to transform high streets and create jobs.

Buxton is now set to receive £6,608,223 in provisional funding as part of the fund, which will be used to finalise proposals for how to regenerate the town centre and create jobs.

High Peak Borough Council (HPBC) submitted the application to the government for the funding, with proposals including:

Spring Gardens in Buxton town centre.

- Improving the pedestrian route to and from the railway station

- Increasing residential and office use in the town centre – especially on the upper floors of buildings

- Increasing leisure, food and drink uses, pop-ups and shared spaces

- Modernising infrastructure to include smart parking, electric vehicle charging and cycle interchange.

The council plans to build a new public space called Wye Square

The plans included building a new pedestrian street from the train station and a new public square, as well as hopes for new leisure attractions such as a cinema, gym and family restaurants and developing a new multi-level car park behind The Springs.

But they were criticised by some leading town groups for not focusing enough on Spring Gardens.

In May, the Buxton Advertiser reported how Buxton Civic Association withdrew its support for the council’s bid, saying there was too much emphasis on the now ‘outdated’ Springs Shopping Centre and ‘unpopular’ proposals for underground car parks.

Vision Buxton had also criticised the plans with group Chairman Roddie MacLean blasting them for ‘funnelling’ visitors from the station.

The council's planned Station Terrace pedestrian route into the town centre

He also slammed proposals for a new pedestrian route into the town via three sets of steps with three sets of lifts for the less able-bodied.

The council later amended their plans in response to the comments, but the Civic Association said they still didn’t feel they went far enough.

A public consultation was also held and HPBC said two-thirds of people who responded backed the plans.

High Peak MP Robert Largan said he had actively lobbied Ministers, making the case for Buxton’s bid in Parliament, as well as holding meetings with the council and ministers to discuss the bid.

Welcoming the funding, he said: “This is fantastic news for Buxton and I am really pleased to have helped secured this vital funding to regenerate our town centre. It’s great that we have a Government that is finally prepared to invest in the High Peak.

“I have previously expressed some concerns about the proposals, as have groups such as Buxton Civic Association.

"But we’ve all agreed that the priority was on securing the funding for the town and that’s what I’ve focused on.

"Now that we’ve been awarded the funding, I hope the council will listen carefully to local residents and fine tune the proposals. This is an important opportunity to revitalise Buxton town centre and make the High Peak an even better place to live.”

Announcing the 72 areas set to receive a share of £830 million from the FHSF, Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “The role of high street has always evolved. We want to support that change and make sure that they are the beating heart of their local community – with high quality housing and leisure in addition to shops and restaurants.”