Vision’s not going to plan

NRHNBE111220b1, Ripley town hall, mystery picture
NRHNBE111220b1, Ripley town hall, mystery picture

More than £500,000 of proposed improvements to Ripley town centre have had to be put on hold due to a shortage of funds and a lack of interest from developers.

Back in 2009 Amber Valley Borough Council endorsed a masterplan for the regeneration of Ripley town centre with the aim that it would be “renewed from its core”.

In 2011 the plan, consisting of a range of projects from paving improvements to creating a ‘high quality walkway’ between Market Place and Crossley Park was given approval by councillors.

But a report from Amber Valley officers to go in front of the full meeting of the authority on Wednesday states that many of these have ‘either scaled back or halted’.

This, it says, is due to: “A lack of funding from both public and private sources; and a depressed commercial property market associated with the recession making it difficult to get developers interested in investing in the opportunity sites identified in the Masterplan.”

The lack of funding of such schemes, the report goes on to suggest, is largely because £3.3million of predicted capital receipts has not yet been received from the ‘housing stock transfer’.

The report means a £400,000 scheme to improve the paving on Derby Road, Grosvenor Road and Church Street is currently shelved.

A grant scheme to help shops and property owners improve frontages including those above ground level would have cost £70,000 - but has also not yet been started due to a lack of funding.

So far just over £15,000 has been spent on improvements as part of the masterplan - which was set to be implemented between 2013 and 2015.

They include the renovation of street furniture at £8,000 and the improvement of signage to point drivers towards car parks.

The report goes ton to say that the shop vacancy rate is falling and it remarks on the success of the Ripley Parking Payback Scheme so far.

It also goes on to suggest further future schemes such as employing a ‘town centre manager’, “with the aim of promoting the town and driving forward its regeneration, ” and investing heavily in Market Place to turn it into ‘a vibrant public plaza’.

These further schemes however, would require an additional £1.5million on top of the cost of the shelved projects outlined in the masterplan.