Locals and visitors to Buxton say they are more than happy that the main work on Buxton’s historic Crescent has finally begun.
However, the general consensus is that people living here in the town should benefit in some way from the £50milllion development.
The project, to transform the Grade I listed building into a five-star 79-bedroom spa hotel, has been beset by a number of issues over several years, but the main part of the contract work is now underway.
Dom Fitzpatrick, 52, has lived in Buxton since 2004 and although he understands the reasoning behind the hotel plans, he would like to see local people benefit from the plans.
He said: “I’m delighted that the project is finally under way.
“I’ve lived here for 12 years and it’s been ‘about to start’ for that entire time.
“The idea seems to make sense because it has to generate revenue some way.
“But, I think it makes sense from a business point of view to give a slightly sweet deal for locals because they are a key clientele who are on tap.”
Wendy Ahearn has been following the Crescent story closely.
She agrees that the financial viability of the project inevitably means it will attract more tourists than locals.
“I’m so glad to finally see some action at long last,” said the 64-year-old.
“I would have preferred the new use to be more for local residents.
“However, I can see why they are doing it for tourists.
“That’s where the money is at isn’t it?”
Clive Edwards, 54, from London, is a semi-occasional visitor to Buxton and says that for the magnificent building to be enjoyed in its glory it must be financially viable.
He said: “I come up here maybe once a year but it’s good to see the crescent.
“It has to make money to make it sustainable.
“It’s a lovely place to visit and you don’t want to see a place like this derelict.
“That it’s been out of action for so long is a tragedy.”
Colin Bell, 77, hopes that locals will not be forgotten once work finally finishes.
He said: “It would be good if there could be some compromise between the two.
“It looks big enough to be both really.
“It’s a very attractive building and that it’s being restored it’s good news.”
Alan Surtees, 71, and his wife Sandra, 61, who were visiting Buxton for the day, believe that the ambitious plans for the crescent are long overdue.
The Shrewsbury-based couple are frequent visitors to the town and said: “It’s a lovely building and if it turns into a nice modern hotel that would be attractive for visitors.”
They added: “After all these years it’s just good to finally see them getting on with it.”
The development is being funded by a £23.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), alongside funding from High Peak Borough Council, Derbyshire County Council, Historic England, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and developer Buxton Crescent Hotel and Thermal Spa Co Ltd.
Councillor Tony Kemp, the borough council’s deputy leader, recently said: “This is truly the biggest development for the Crescent in many decades - and it is really exciting.”