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Cllr Jason Zadrozny smiles at the camera, he is holding a hard hat and wearing a high vis vest

Future Ashfield

Ashfield District Council is reaching for the stars with our ambitions for the Future Ashfield.

I am incredibly proud to say that in 2021, we were one of the most successful Councils in the country, securing an enormous £62.6million from the government’s Towns Deal, £6.27million from the Future High Streets Fund, and £3.1million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022. Since then, we have been working with partner organisations and the Discover Ashfield board to turn ideas into reality.

I have seen comments and questions from residents wondering how these projects will benefit Ashfield. I want to try to answer that question now. There is a golden thread that links all these projects together to form a vision of Ashfield that is ready for the future.

We want to bring more jobs, more highly-skilled jobs, which means we need a future workforce who can fill these – so we are working with Portland College and Vision West Notts College to increase provision for construction skills, and to provide a Civil Engineering Centre. The Automated Distribution Manufacturing Centre (ADMC) will be a world-class facility based right here in Ashfield, giving access to the latest automation technology for prototyping, manufacturing, research and development, and skills and training. The ADMC will work with businesses locally and nationally to improve their productivity and enable growth.

We want to make Ashfield a place where people are proud to live, with access to cultural and educational experiences, so we are funding the refurbishment of Sutton Academy’s theatre, and we are proud to be a partner in the Planetarium and Science Discovery Centre at Sherwood Observatory.

In December we shared the plans for Cornerstone Theatre. The benefits of this project are easy to see, by providing access to professional, national theatre productions, cinematic experiences, music and comedy nights, we will open the doors to a whole new world for people. Arts and culture help shape imaginations, inspire young people to express themselves, or to pursue a career they never thought of, bring jobs to the area, and ultimately give joy, because what is life without that? Importantly, not everyone can afford to travel to Nottingham or London to watch performances, and the impact of having that on their doorstep cannot be overstated. We are also working with partners on an application to the Arts Council which if successful would see over £1m invested in local areas, creating greater creative opportunities.

The progress on site at Sherwood Observatory, which will house a world-class planetarium and Science Discovery Centre, is astounding, it blows me away every time I drive past it. Families, school groups, clubs, visitors, and people from across the East Midlands will flock to the observatory. This project has the power to expose a whole generation of people to space, engineering, science and maths in a way we have never seen before. To bring the curriculum to life, to raise aspirations of the next generation. The team at the observatory are doing an amazing job of bringing this project to life and are on target to welcome people through the doors later in the year.

We want Ashfield to have a thriving visitor economy, so we are in the process of building a boathouse/restaurant and function space at Kings Mill Reservoir; the excitement around this project is tangible. Kings Mill Reservoir is one of Ashfield’s best assets and the new building, along with the high ropes course at the Mill Adventure Base, will only add to this. Improving access to sports and lifestyle enhancers is one of our top priorities, which is why building a modern facility with changing rooms and storage for water sports equipment is needed. I want to see people from around Nottinghamshire come to the reservoir to enjoy water sports, without having to own a paddleboard or a kayak. Opening up the opportunity for everyone to try a new activity can only ever be a good thing.

Of course, that is only one half of this project, the other is the top floor which has stunning views over the water. It is a prime location for a bar, restaurant and function space. I can’t think of anywhere else in this area that you can treat yourself to a quality evening meal with such a spectacular view.

We want local businesses to succeed in Ashfield, which is why we are investing in long-term derelict properties and bringing them back to useable condition. On Low Street, Sutton, we have completed the transformation of the former Yorkshire Bank, and we are in the process of renovating the unit across the street. We are supporting businesses in Hucknall with the Shop Front Improvement Grant, and all small businesses with the Enterprise Grant. The refurbishment of the keystone building, High Pavement House, will spark a revolution of businesses based in Ashfield. Providing a modern base for small and expanding businesses is key to helping them grow.

Future plans from these funding pots include exciting innovations such as investing in vertical farming – a solution for mass growing of plants and vegetables without taking up the space traditionally needed, improvements to Selston Country Park, and just under £2m being invested in courses to upskill residents and a comprehensive package of support to businesses across the District.

The thing that binds these projects together is the potential to boost Ashfield’s economy, to make a stronger Ashfield, a diverse Ashfield, an Ashfield we can all be proud of.


Cllr Jason Zadrozny

Leader of Ashfield District Council