High Peak Borough Council (HPBC), last July, received funding from the government’s Future High Street Fund (FHSF) to draw up detailed proposals to transform the Spring Gardens area of Buxton and create a town centre fit for the 21st Century. Buxton was one of the 50 towns chosen out of ~150 which applied.
The proposals have been developed by HPBC and a team of consultants including planning and property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton, masterplanners e*SCAPE Urbanists and transport consultants Pell Frischmann, along with input from key town stakeholders and community partners who make up the Buxton Visitor Economy Strategy (VES) & Town Centre Board (including Vision Buxton), property owners and other interested parties.
They have developed a ‘preferred option for change’ and are sharing their initial ‘emerging proposals’ with the public and local businesses for feedback.
Two consultation events are taking place in the Springs Shopping Centre on Saturday 1 February,10am-2pm and Monday 10 February, 1pm-4pm. The proposals are also available online along with a survey. Additional comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 17 February.
HPBC welcome your views which will inform the proposals and help them to make the most of this important opportunity.
Proposals: download them here.
Draft site plan: view it here.
Survey: once you have looked at the proposals, complete the survey here.
The FHSF ‘area’ includes Spring Gardens and associated carpark and buildings, the railway station forecourt, Station Road, the Quadrant and Hardwick Street.
The overall aims are:
- to adapt to the challenges that the traditional ‘high street’ across the UK is facing
- to help the town centre move away from just traditional retail to a more diverse range of uses
- to improve the poor visual gateway to Buxton (rear view of Spring Gardens buildings)
- to provide an attractive centre for local residents to use and enjoy
- to bring new customers into the shopping core
- to better link the town centre to the station and new health hub / retirement home developments
Station Road Area
- create new transport hub in front of the train station with a better bus stop provision, taxi rank, cycle parking and space for cycle hire, electric car charging points
- relocate and expand pedestrian crossings across Station Road
- create access to multi-level car parking by The Springs Shopping Centre
The Springs Shopping Centre & Car Park to North
- create new terrace walk “Station Terrace” with lifts and steps, linking to Station Road and new building developments on the bottling plant site
- build new residential/retail/cafe buildings on the car park by Station Approach – the gable end wall of the old LMS Station will be retained – screening the back of Spring Gardens / The Springs Shopping Centre
- improve car parking provision (no net loss of spaces / better quality / smart parking / electric vehicle charging) – undercroft to new development areas and multi-storeys
The Springs Shopping Centre Car Park to East
- improve appearance of entrance near Waitrose and rear of building
- create new public space “Wye Square” by The Springs Shopping Centre entrance making a feature of the revealed River Wye with large digital screen and space for street performances
- build new food/drink “pods” screening rear of Spring Gardens buildings by Wye Street
- build new leisure attraction building with cinema, restaurants, café, new public toilets including Changing Places toilet,
- build new home for further education courses delivered by Buxton & Leek College
- build new residential apartments
- improve shop fronts (delivered by supplementary £1m Heritage Action Zone scheme – funding secured)
- improve the street environment – remove street clutter, improve spaces to relax, enjoy and meet people
- remove the canopy entrance to The Springs
- relocate and expand pedestrian crossings on Terrace Road to wider, single crossing
- increase use of upper floors of Spring Gardens buildings including the Grove Hotel – office space, residential apartments
- redevelop old M&S unit for new retailer(s)/food court preserving a route through to The Springs Shopping Centre
- improve the appearance of pedestrians routes through to Spring Gardens – Wye Street
- improve rear courtyards as the ‘Yards Quarter’ with spaces for independent creative businesses above and behind shops
- improve broadband provision to support businesses
What Happens Next?
The consultant team will review all feedback, including that from the public, stakeholders, local businesses, elected representatives and responses from youth consultation events and use it to amend the emerging proposals. Revised proposals will be reviewed by the Council and members of the VES and Town Centre Board.
If approved, a full Business Case (final proposals, with costings) will be submitted to the government at the end of April. The proposals will require substantial investment from the private sector and the Councils themselves so commercial viability and deliverability will be a key factor. At this early stage, no commitment of resources has been made by HPBC or Derbyshire County Council.
A decision is expected in the Autumn. It is likely to be a very competitive process and there is no guarantee that Buxton will secure this funding. However, during the summer, the council will continue working to refine the designs and prepare planning applications.
Further information can be found on the HPBC website here.