Welcome to Swadlincote
PUBLISHED: 16:31 14 March 2013 | UPDATED: 21:08 05 April 2013
Carole Warburton talks about the friendly town that's proud of its past, ambitious for the future and has plenty to offer in the present
There are so many reasons to visit the fast-growing market town of Swadlincote at the heart of South Derbyshire and The National Forest.
Its a town that has come a long way in a short space of time. The vibrant refurbishment of The Delph market square and West Street, the preservation of the historic High Street and The Pipeworks, Swadlincotes new retail development, mean the town offers plenty of choice for shoppers.
Centrally located between the major routes of the A38, A50 and M42, Swadlincote is a great place to visit. With over 1,500 free parking spaces, the attractions of the Market Town of The National Forest ensure visitors from far and wide.
Frank McArdle, Chief Executive of South Derbyshire District Council is, as you would expect, an advocate for the thriving district: Our mission statement has always been that South Derbyshire is open for business, he commented. Adding, We are the home of Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd which recently invested around a further 100 million in its South Derbyshire base. JCB makes its Dieselmax engine range in the district and has recently committed to spending 31 million on the next generation engine, while Nestl UK is investing 310 million in its South Derbyshire coffee production facility at Hatton.
Outside of London and the South East, South Derbyshire is the sixth fastest growing place in England and Wales, with a population growth of 15.8 per cent over the last decade. It is a dynamic community where retailers and leisure activities are continuing to prosper. Indeed we are bucking the trend in many respects.
Frank McArdle continued, Unlike many town centres, the heart of Swadlincote has not been undermined by the building of out-of-town shopping centres. The main artery of the traditional High Street links the Sainsburys and Morrisons stores together with other retail areas such as the restaurants and the cinema at The Pipeworks. Through solid investment in Swadlincotes heritage, Victorian and Edwardian shop fronts have been refurbished and restored.
Over 1 million of grants has been invested in making The Delph into a thriving public square, performance area and focal point. Within two years of being established, the towns Annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race there is set to become a permanent feature and in March and April 2020VISION, a major national open air photographic exhibition, is being staged in the square.
Leader of the District Council, Cllr Bob Wheeler, was quick to mention the towns recent local headline-grabbing success: We are particularly proud of the fact that Swadlincotes thrice-weekly traditional market alongside the Farmers and Producers market has won a national award this year.
In addition to its market success, the town can also be proud of its extensive range of retail businesses, from JYSK furniture suppliers to the Danish Royal Family to traditional family businesses, and national chains to plenty of stores for anyone who likes a good bargain.
One of Swadlincotes specialist shops is the St Giles Hospice Bridal Room in Midland Road which stocks a stunning range of wedding dresses, bridesmaids and mother-of-the bride outfits plus hats, shoes, handbags and tiaras. Penny Lovatt, who manages the shop with a team of volunteers, said: We started by approaching bridal gown retailers to ask if they had any new, former display and sample dresses, which they might want to donate to the charity. People like to donate bridal wear to us because they know that we will raise more money than the usual charity shops and they are reassured that their dresses will be treated with respect.
Grooms are not forgotten either, Jon Paul Formal Hire offers a range of outfits for men. Bouquets and floral arrangements can be supplied by Weddings R Us, then there are cakes at Delicious Dishes and on Church Street Bliss Bridal Wear specialises in new wedding gowns.
South Derbyshire also has any number of outstanding venues where weddings can be held, such as Calke Abbey, Catton Hall, the historic Town Hall on The Delph and The Glade, a unique woodland venue at Rosliston which featured in the BBCs Dont Tell the Bride series.
As well as its retail offering, Swadlincote is expanding the variety of leisure activities on tap. Theres ski-ing and snowboarding on dry nursery and main ski slopes at the Swadlincote Ski Centre and a challenging and fun alpine toboggan run for the adventurous. The Pipeworks, Swadlincotes 20 million retail development, has a new Odeon five-screen cinema featuring the latest blockbusters, alongside Prezzos Italian restaurant, Costa Coffee, Subway and a Hungry Horse family dining pub and restaurant. Around the High Street you can have your choice of Thai, Indian, Italian and American food as well as good old-fashioned fish and chips.
The treasured landmark of Sharpes Pottery Museum in West Street now has a new coffee shop and childrens play area as part of a 400,000 investment. Cllr Bob Wheeler noted, Visitors to the town can call into the museum and find out more about the towns industrial and cultural heritage. The museum reveals the incredible range of ceramics produced in South Derbyshire from the highly collectable Bretby Art Pottery and the sought-after blue and white Cornishware crockery to the once mass-produced huge salt glazed drainage pipes.
Sharpes Pottery Museum is also the base for Swadlincote Tourist Information Centre, recently named as one of the best in the country. Centre Manager Gail Archer said, Swadlincote is the gateway to The National Forest. We have detailed information about tourist destinations throughout the country and an inside knowledge of attractions in The National Forest and Beyond. You might come to Swadlincote for the shopping or for the nightlife, but you could also enjoy a visit to Rosliston Forestry Centre, just outside the town. At Rosliston theres something for everyone from wildlife walks, special play areas for children as well as a caf and shops.
For whatever reason you choose to visit Swadlincote, youll find a friendly welcome. Frank McArdle concludes, South Derbyshire folk are very special, proud of the past and ambitious for the future. In spite of the rush of modern life, local people are exceptionally friendly. They are more than happy to stop and chat. We could make a fortune if we could bottle and sell the wonderful South Derbyshire community spirit. Come and taste it for yourself.