It was a busy year for Councillors and Officers at Ashfield District Council. 2019 started with the second BIG Ashfield Spring Clean. Even bigger and better, residents were able to dispose of their extra waste via kerb side collections, flying skips and free bulky waste collections. 266 tonnes of side waste was collected, and 3245 households took advantage of the free bulky waste collections.
February saw the Council receive the planning application for Summit Park in Sutton. A 162,781 sq.m distribution centre is currently being built on the site which is set to bring 1800 jobs to the District later this year.
Cllr Jason Zadrozny, Leader of Ashfield District Council said “This is the biggest single private sector investment in the district for quite some time, maybe ever. It is great to see that a large organisation wants to bring part of its distribution network to the district.”
March saw the unveiling of the newly refurbished Kirkby Clock, now back in its original position outside the Nags Head.
The first of three elections took place on 2nd May with the local Council elections. The European elections followed on 23rd May and the General Election took place on 12th December. Both leading up to an election and on Election Day itself, the Elections team at Ashfield District Council work around the clock to ensure casting your vote is as easy as possible.
In the spring the Council announced a number of investments within the District. These included Weatherspoon’s in Sutton announcing plans for a major investment in the Picture House. Sutton business Really Good Group Ltd. who own local business RGMM as well as the sportswear brand QSW invested in new state of the art premises and have transformed the former DWP building on High Pavement into their design and manufacturing studio. Romo fabric & wallpaper design and manufacturers are currently building new state of the art premises on Oddicroft Industrial Estate, having outgrown their current premises on Lowmoor Road, Kirkby.
The summer saw six of the Districts parks retain their green flag status. Brierley Forest Park, Selston Country park, Kingsway Park, Sutton Lawn, Portland Park and Titchfield Park, Hucknall received the prestigious award that recognises the very best parks in the world. Over £2.6million will have been invested into parks and green spaces across Ashfield by March 2020.
2019 marked 100 years since the Addison Act and the start of Council housing in England. To mark the occasion the Council have unveiled a new road sign on Addison Drive in Hucknall, and placed a blue plaque on one of the first Council houses in the District. Records show that a property on Moorland Close in Sutton in Ashfield was the very first council house to be built in Ashfield back in 1922. With over 7000 houses under its management the Council is committed to increasing this number. Having recently added nine new properties to the housing portfolio in Hucknall, we are building over 20 new homes on Davies Avenue in Sutton. There are also plans to build or acquire around 100 more properties over the next few years.
In July ADC announced the departure of Chief Executive Rob Mitchell. Carol Cooper-Smith joined as interim Chief Executive, making her the first female Chief Executive for Ashfield District Council or the Urban Councils that proceeded it.
Carol Cooper-Smith said “I am delighted to be back at Ashfield District Council as the first female CEO. The Council has a strong history of female senior leaders, with three of the Council’s five current senior leaders being female. I am proud to lead an organisation that values equality.”
In September a public consultation was held allowing residents to have their say on the new Kirkby leisure destination. Over 300 residents responded, with 75% of respondents saying they were looking forward to a swimming pool coming to Kirkby.
As part of the Council’s Green Agenda the first Community Orchard was planted in October. Over 1000 trees will be planted across the District over the next four years and the Community Orchard at Sutton Lawn saw a selection of apple, pear a nut trees planted. Once established the orchard will provide local residents with fruit and nuts they can pick and take home.
Electric vehicle charging points were installed at the Council offices, Kirkby, New Street car park, Kirkby, Kings Mill Reservoir and Piggins Croft car park, Hucknall.
The Community Protection team celebrated their tenth anniversary and have been working hard throughout the year tackling anti-social behaviour. In October the Council obtained its first ever Criminal Behaviour Order, issued to a resident for failing to comply with a Community Protection Notice. We continue to work closely with the Police and the CID have now moved into the integrated HUB alongside their community policing colleagues and the Council’s Community Protection team.
In preparation for Remembrance Day the four main war memorials in Titchfield Park, Kingway Cemetery, Sutton Cemetery and Huthwaite Cemetery were cleaned and restored. This marked the beginning of a rolling programme which will see all the Districts war memorials cleaned and restored over the next few years.
Idlewells indoor market ended the year at over 80% capacity. Kirkby and Sutton are in line to receive millions in funding thanks to the Future High Streets and Towns Funds. Each town will receive up to £25million as part of the Governments Towns Fund, and Sutton is in line to receive up to an additional £25million from the Future High Streets fund. The focus will be to widen the appeal of the town centre, with less reliance on retail to create a thriving centre with a mix of retail, leisure and services.
We rounded the year off with three Christmas festivals in Kirkby, Sutton and Hucknall. New Christmas lights were installed, including new feature lighting, attracting visitors into the town centres. Feedback on this year’s lights has been phenomenal and has proved to be a fantastic way to round off a busy year for Ashfield District Council.
Looking forward into 2020, Cllr Jason Zadrozny, Leader of Ashfield District Council said “The Council faces huge challenges this year in terms of budgets. With no money coming directly from the Government for the first time, we are looking to build on our current investments to ensure we are generating enough money to continue providing high quality services to residents.
“We will be holding The BIG Ashfield Spring Clean for the third time in February. This will be the biggest yet and we will be providing residents with details over the next few weeks. We’ve also got the opening of the Byron Cinema in Hucknall to look forward to in the spring. It’ll be fantastic to have all the latest blockbusters available in the District.
“The Mill Waters project will also make strides with the new Café opening at Kings Mill Reservoir in the spring. The new leisure destination will continue to move forward and is on track for its 2021 opening. This is an exciting year for the Council and the District and we look forward to delivering a wide range of projects to benefit residents.”