Something unusual is happening in Bolsover - and people are happy about it

Something unusual is happening in Bolsover.

By Michael Broomhead
Friday, 28th August 2020, 7:00 am

In what has been described as ‘grown up Government’, the Conservative MP and the Labour leader of the district council have agreed to put political views to one side – and work together on a series of projects aimed at enhancing the area.

Mark Fletcher and Steve Fritchley are teaming up in a bid to bring investment to the district’s transport network, attract more skilled jobs to the patch, aid regeneration and boost tourism.

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Pictures in Bolsover town centre taken by Brian Eyre.

On the streets of Bolsover this week, many residents told the Derbyshire Times they welcomed the fact the political leaders were working together on the projects – and they also gave their views on how the area could be improved.

Sharon Holmes, 60, said: “I love Bolsover – I moved here from Sheffield around 15 years ago and haven’t looked back since.

“I would like to see something done about the empty buildings in the town centre, though – and it would be nice to have more variety in terms of shops as well.

“It’s good to hear the MP and the council leader are working together to try and improve things.”

Sharon Holmes.

Lisa Flowers, 40, said: “There needs to be more done to attract people to the area and get them spending locally.”

Paul Whallett, 58, said: “The town centre is beginning to look a bit shabby and is in need of regeneration.

“I’d like to see a cinema here.

“I’d also like to see local politicians getting out and about a bit more and speaking to residents to find out what they want.”

Lisa Flowers.

Paul Rimington, 43, added: “There needs to be more for the younger generation in Bolsover town centre – things like a skate park and a swimming pool.

“There are definitely positives here – there’s a great community spirit.

“The politicians working together is definitely welcome.”

In a great political shock, Mr Fletcher became Tory MP for Bolsover at last December’s General Election – ending Labour firebrand Dennis Skinner’s 49-year hold of the seat.

Paul Whallett with his 10-year-old pooch Charlie.

On working with Councillor Fritchley, Mr Fletcher said: “Steve and I have our differences – but nobody is interested in party political point scoring outside of elections.

“People want us to work together – and that is what we’re doing.”

He described Bolsover as having ‘tremendous economic potential’ and said the projects they were working together on were ‘vital to levelling up our communities, towns and region’.

He added: “Many of these projects require support from our Local Enterprise Partnership, the county council, the district council and central Government, and we believe we will have more chance of securing the investment we need if we work together.

“The past few months have been tremendously challenging for everybody, but we need to use the coronavirus crisis as a catalyst for a better future.”

Coun Fritchley has been the leader of Labour-controlled Bolsover District Council since May 2019.

Paul Rimington.

He said: “Our responsibility is to work together in the best interests of our residents.

“We both believe in public service and the need to put aside our differences wherever possible to bring investment and opportunities to our region.

“Many of the projects are not party political – they are supported by Labour, Conservative and independent representatives across the region.

“I am delighted that, unlike in many parts of the country, we are seeing grown up Government in Bolsover, with all of us working together for residents.

“Financial investment in the community is essential in these difficult economic times.”

What projects are Mark Fletcher and Steve Fritchley working together on for Bolsover?

Transport and infrastructure

- Mr Fletcher and Coun Fritchley say there is a ‘strong desire’ to bring a link road between Shirebrook and the M1. They believe a link road would help to bring more jobs and investment into the town and give the local economy a ‘shot in the arm’

- The pair would like to see the high-speed railway line HS2 rediverted so it doesn't have a ‘damaging effect’ on the constituency. They fear there are many people in Bolsover who could be at risk of being ‘displaced’ because of HS2

- They believe reinstating the disused Maid Marion line would be ‘hugely beneficial’ to those living in the south of the constituency. A railway station in Pinxton is also high on the agenda and both men are keen to see this being delivered

- The pair want an extension of the Robin Hood railway line from Shirebrook to Ollerton. They say this would help to turn Shirebrook into a ‘real hub of business and activity’

- Mr Fletcher and Coun Fritchley are also working together on the development of the Treble Bob roundabout in Barlborough and the development of new cycling opportunities across the district

Skills and jobs

- The development of further education provision in Bolsover, one of the few local authority districts in the country without any post-16 educational opportunities

- The development of a skills audit to highlight the strengths and areas of improvement for the area

- The development of a Green Enterprise Zone and other opportunities for regeneration and the creation of skilled jobs

- Forming a joint working party which will meet quarterly to share ideas on how to develop the area’s economy

Regeneration

- Working closely with the four town and parish councils of Bolsover, Clowne, Shirebrook and South Normanton in anticipation of future bids for Government funding to improve those areas

Tourism

- Co-hosting a summit later in 2020 to identify ways in which Bolsover’s tourism offering can be improved

Editor’s message

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Mark Fletcher, Bolsover MP.
Councillor Steve Fritchley, leader of Bolsover District Council.
Bolsover town centre.