The ambitious and progressive Long Eaton Town Investment Plan (opens in a new window) has been submitted to the government for the once-in-a-generation opportunity to win £25m of funding.

The Plan is seen as one of the most important visionary documents in the town’s history, setting out a series of exciting projects to build on Long Eaton’s rich heritage and to help transform it into a vibrant and modern town.

Put together by the multi-agency Long Eaton Town Deal Board, the Plan shows a clear commitment to three key ambitions over the next 10 years – make Long Eaton a go-to town with improved access by transport, walking and cycling; build on its worldwide reputation for quality manufacturing; and make the town attractive to new opportunities and maintain its reputation as a great place for people to live and work.

The projects outlined in the town’s bid - which with match funding amount to some £30m - have been developed through consultation with local residents and businesses:

• Layout changes at The Green, a town centre traffic congestion hotspot - including relocating bus bays and restricting certain vehicle movements.
• Improvements to the High Street, including moving the market back to its historical Market Place site, a no vehicle access except for permit holders and new paving and planting.
• Turning the former Box Office cinema, which is now derelict, into a cultural hub, featuring a café, gallery, and auditorium for performance, film screenings, conferences and other arts-related social events.
• Redevelopment of the disused former Galaxy cinema on the edge of the town centre on Derby Road by turning it into a four storey residential building aimed at young professionals.
• Transform the Grade II* listed Stable Block at the rear of Long Eaton Town Hall into affordable small business units.
• Proposals to upgrade the cycle and walking network, including improvements to the Broad Street Bridge between West Park and the town centre; a new bridge over the canal at Britannia Road; and lighting along the cycle route through West Park.
• Creation of a ‘West Park Waterfront’ alongside the Erewash Canal including moorings for commercial boats providing food and drink with seating allowing visitors to enjoy the waterside environment; and improvement of facilities at West Park to allow high quality events to be held.
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Richard Ledger, chairman of Long Eaton Town Deal Board, says the Plan and all its ambition belongs to the town and its people:

“This is about creating exciting projects for the future prosperity of the town and seizing the opportunity to deliver that vision. We couldn’t have done it without the input of local residents and our business community, so our thanks go to them.”

Erewash Borough Council Leader Councillor Carol Hart, who is also the Board’s vice-chair, agrees that the input of many local people was invaluable and helped make the Town Investment Plan as strong as it is:

“The driving force behind all of the work is that we want the very best for Long Eaton. The Board is proud of this Town Investment Plan – which is the result of an excellent community-wide effort.”

A further project is mentioned if the routing of HS2 through Long Eaton does go-ahead. This would see the permanent closure of the low-level rail line to avoid massive congestion problems at the town centre level crossings on Main Street and Station Road due to increased rail traffic to the proposed HS2 hub at Toton. If the high speed project does go ahead, the Board wants to stop the town being effectively cut in two by diverting all rail traffic to the high level line which crosses the town on bridges, requiring a new connecting chord at Trent Junction.