On to the next stage for town

We are on to the second phase of sorting out the centre of Matlock in an attempt to revitalise its economy.

The IMPRESS stage (Initial Matlock Public Realm and Surfacing Scheme – and yes it really was called that) is done and just about dusted so now it is time to move on and look at Bakewell Road and after that the Lido site.

The district and town councils have clubbed together to devise a Bakewell Road development brief for any interested parties and now it is down to them to sell the idea of investing in Matlock to anyone out their with capital.

Not an easy task I think we can all agree – but Matlock certainly has a lot to offer and let’s hope that someone out there sees its potential and jumps at the chance to be in on the future.

This town has good transport connections with the major A6 road, a central railway station and (at the moment) regular buses. It has a beautiful park with facilities for young and old. It has the backdrop of Riber Castle and a stunning riverside setting. The core town centre is even holding its own in the battle against the To Let signs with just eight empty shops, which are mostly in Dale Road.

This time last year a consultant’s report bought by the councils had that figure at 14 but since then Costa, Grace, and a few other niche traders have moved in.

The councils believe that if Bakewell Road can attract an “anchor tenant” then this will act as a catalyst for the rest of the town and the empty shops will be snapped up.

They are also hopeful that they will then be able to move to stage three and fund the development of the Lido site into a “civic quarter” with a new library, public square for markets, and Tourist Information centre.

I think we the taxpayers should make sure we push to ensure that this important part of the supplementary planning document (SPD) we backed in 2008 remains on the agenda and is not kicked out on consultant’s advice or by potential developers who may reckon it is not economically viable and would rather turn it into retirement flats or a budget hotel.

We need to keep an eye on what is going on over the next few months and make sure no deals are done to secure the Bakewell Road development at the expense of our cultural hub.

Amanda Hatfield, editor