Ashbourne’s bunting is now drawing in more support online and through donations and pledges directly to the Ashbourne News Telegraph. £5000 will secure it’s replacement which should last a few years. The organisers would still welcome volunteers who can help install and remove it though. This week we made it to £2500 which is a convenient number for the mathematically challenged. It means we are the equivalent of 4 miles of bunting along our 8-mile Ashbourne bunting route.
Last week we’d made it to the Fire Station and along the route we have already passed the scene of many Ashbourne News Telegraph stories. We head on up to the traffic lights and turn right onto Sturston Road. On the left hand side we pass number 13, lucky for Catherine Mumford who was born here in 1829. She married William Booth who founded the Salvation Army and earned herself a statue in the Memorial Gardens. On the right along here is Taylor Court – part of a development of affordable houses built in the last decade without the controversy seen by some of the greenfield sites.
We are taking a left at the traffic lights. This junction is one that is most often discussed when Ashbourne’s traffic issues are discussed and the proximity of Sainsbury’s goods yard to the lights is often a subject for letters to the Stunner. In the Summer there can be long tailbacks on Derby Hill and Station Street. Turning up Derby Hill has some architectural interest. This starts some houses and apartments built at the bottom of old Derby Hill. They are really good examples of redevelopment of existing properties into affordable new houses. Moving up the hill are Coopers alms houses next to the old Congregational Chapel – all built around 1800. There is also an old Napoleonic gaol on the left hand side. The further up the hill you go, the better the view over the town.
We turn left onto another new housing development on Cavendish Drive. This estate which was developed by Miller Homes and Derwent Living was in the news for the wrong reasons at the turn of 2014. Residents complained because the roads and kerbs had been left unfinished once the houses had been sold. It’s a good example of affordable housing but a bad example of the practices of developers in the town. The road curves round the back of the Ashbourne Lodge Care Home. This newly opened facility hopefully brings a happy end to a story which left lots of people angry when the Miraj Hotel went into administration leaving people who’d booked events there high and dry.
We also go past the entrance to the Airfield Estate. This is the biggest employer in the Derbyshire Dales and is home to some really innovative businesses with international reputations. This is the likely hub for Ashbourne’s future economic success and it needs the workforce and expansion land to make it happen. The recently approved 367 homes and 8 acres of business land as well as a new academy will do this, provided the planning application survives intact.
Crossing over the road we enter Old Derby Road and this takes us into the Southern green crescent of the town which looks set to expand so rapidly over the next twenty years. Hundreds of houses are planned to be built on the Airfield, Old Derby Road, Willow Meadow Farm, Hillside Farm and Leys Farm which will increase Ashbourne’s population by over 30%. These are all new estates which have already extended the town over the last twenty years. The Ashbourne News Telegraph has reported extensively the Consulation, the Willow Meadow Farm planning application Appeal and Inspection, and the failure of the Derbyshire Dales District Council Local Plan. Enjoy the sledging fields, the dog walks and the country paths around here while you may because they will soon disappear forever.
On a happier note there is real momentum in the Bunting fund raising and so I think we will soon be able to move on from this controversial place.