Council plans to revitalise Buxton town centre need to include more than Springs shopping centre, civic association says

High Peak Borough Council’s plans to revitalise the centre of Buxton need to shift their focus away from The Springs precinct if they are to bring lasting benefits to the rest of the town, Buxton Civic Association (BCA) believes.

By Reporter
Friday, 14th February 2020, 5:50 pm
Updated Monday, 17th February 2020, 12:33 pm

Members used an emergency meeting this week to back amendments to proposals which the council says will “transform the Spring Gardens area as part of a national initiative to create town centres fit for the 21st century.”

The High Peak was one of the first 50 areas, out of an anticipated 150 towns in total, to receive funding from the government's £1 billion Future High Street Fund (FHSF).

But the BCA believes that much more could be made of this once-in-a-generation opportunity and along with Vision Buxton and the Town Team are keen to work with the council to achieve this.

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The council hopes to build a major leisure attraction - such as a mainstream cinema - with family restaurants and cafes nearby

“This proposal is likely to shape the centre of the town for the next 50 to 100 years. We must get it right, and unfortunately due to the constraints of the grant it is being done in a rush,” said BCA Chairman Peter Phillipson.

Last week High Peak Borough Council revealed their plans for the money, which include a new pedestrian street from the train station to The Springs shopping centre and Spring Gardens, a new transport hub in front of the train station, building a new public square by reusing surface-level car parking and new leisure attractions. The plans will go through to the second, much more competitive phase of its claim where towns apply for funding to implement their proposals.

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But issues raised by the BCA include:

Developing a route to The Springs from the train station may be beneficial, but making it the major desire line from the station is a mistake. An equally important route must be developed taking visitors, most of whom come for Buxton’s history, to the Pavilion Gardens, Opera House, Crescent and upper Buxton.The proposed three flights of steps are a serious barrier to accessibility (even with the lifts). Good accessibility for elderly people, disabled and those with buggies must be central to the scheme.Is there a need for two major new buildings, when we have so many fine historic buildings looking for a use?The proposal for a new public space / square is welcomed but the design needs to be more ambitious.There needs to be considerably more emphasis on improvements to Spring Gardens (our High Street – this is after all a bid for The Future High Street Fund). This should include a significant public building such as a modern public library (with creche etc) to bring a new focus for people other than retail.significant “green” environmental gains are needed in this age of climate emergency.

The BCA will be sending its concerns to the council, but urged local people to add their comments by e-mailing to [email protected] by the February 17 deadline.