New life hopes for town’s gateway

Children's Playground: The former Madison's Bar on Bakewell Road, which may be turned into a children's play centre.
Children's Playground: The former Madison's Bar on Bakewell Road, which may be turned into a children's play centre.

Plans to transform the former Madison’s Bar in Matlock have been backed – with hopes it could signal the start of a major redevelopment of the town’s northern gateway.

Matlock Town Council pledged its support for a new application which could see the derelict site on Bakewell Road turned in to a children’s play area and cafe.

At a meeting in the Imperial Rooms on Monday Cllr David Jones said: “In principle I’m in favour of it. I’d rather have it used than being empty.

“I can’t see how they can make it worse – they will have to make it better.”

Cllr Steve Flitter added: “At the moment it’s not a very good advert for people coming in from the Bakewell end of Matlock.

“I think the life of the site has come to an end and the sooner it gets redeveloped the better. I certainly would not raise any objection.”

Last year Derbyshire Dales District Council unveiled ambitious plans to redevelop Bakewell Road to encourage major retailers and provide new car parks.

A team of specialist consultants, drafted in to look at development opportunities in the town, flagged up Bakewell Road as the best opportunity for large scale retail.

Matlock Civic Association also supported for the scheme.

But last October district councillors were slammed for turning away a major shopping chain which wanted to take over the former Madison’s building.

District councillors said the plans for Original Factory Shop were too far out of the town centre and lacked parking but their decision was criticised by town councillors who said Matlock was crying out for new stores and investment.

Richard Short of Matlock Business Group said the Bakewell Road site needed redeveloping.

He added: “Obviously it wants letting and I would have thought this was a good use for the building.

“The council wants to develop the other side of the road but they have to be careful not to develop the town centre further out.

“The site does need developing but I’m not a big believer in having big name shops. I think we need more unusual shops so Matlock keeps it individuality.”

Derbyshire Dales District Council is set to vote on the application for the play area and cafe in January.