Alston Front Street redevelopment

We have been working with the community for some time regarding the potential redevelopment of Front Street and to date we have held two public drop in sessions. The County Council is committed to reinstating cobbles where it is technically possible and working with the community to find a long term solution, sympathetic to the historic nature of Alston Town Centre. 

Plans are being developed following community feedback and we will ensure that there are even more opportunities for the community to get involved as any potential future scheme is developed. 

Some work has been done to estimate the likely cost of an outline scheme and similar schemes in other parts of the country have cost between £ 1-2 million pounds. 

The development of a scheme like this will take time. It is a significant undertaking to achieve a deliverable design whilst meeting the aspirations of residents and businesses, and then securing the necessary funding needed and it will not happen quickly. 

We will continue to work closely with the community to inform and engage during the design process. Once finalised, these plans will be key to helping us secure the funding needed to deliver a scheme sympathetic to the historic nature of Alston. 

The public drop-ins were held to give us an understanding of what the community wanted for their town centre and where they felt money should be prioritised.

We are committed to do all that we can for Alston and we have some exciting, as well as some essential, work being done soon.

While we continue to develop a deliverable long term scheme for Alston and try to secure funding, essential highway maintenance work has been necessary on Front Street. The section of road which deteriorated the most, has been resurfaced in asphalt. We will continue to monitor the condition of the highway over the winter months and it may be necessary to undertake some repair work to some remaining areas of Front Street to ensure the road is safe for users. Any removed cobbles are being stored so that, if suitable, they can be reused elsewhere in Alston.

Front Street lighting improvements

Summary: Cumbria County Council is currently investing in the renewal and refurbishment of street lighting equipment across the county and Front Street in Alston has been selected to be part of this innovative scheme. 

This will see the replacement of existing wall and column mounted lanterns on Front Street with new 'gas mantle style' heritage LED lanterns, which will be more in-keeping with the historic nature of this important town.  

The new lighting has a much warmer colour in appearance and it emits less light pollution so is particularly suitable, and popular, in areas with 'dark skies' like Alston.  As part of this investment programme the wall brackets and columns will also be freshly painted (subject to suitable weather conditions).  In addition to replacing the lanterns, we will also be installing several new lighting columns between existing locations.  We are pleased to confirm that these are original cast iron columns which have been carefully restored and refurbished, ensuring that they will complement the existing columns in the town. 

Investment/Cost: 35K

Timescale: Work is programmed to start on Monday 18 February 2019 for approximately 3 weeks.

Front Street Alston - layout plan (PDF 110kb)

Repairs to the Market Cross

Summary: Approximately 40 of the sandstone steps leading to the market cross need re-bedding and re-pointed with Lime Mortar. The stones when lifted will be cleaned and treated with fungicide before resetting. The Market Cross is not part of the adopted highway but is a building owned by Cumbria County Council and repairs will be carried out by a local specialist stonework contractor for the County Council. The work to be carried out is classed as maintenance and repairs and therefore does not require listed building consent.

Investment/cost: Approximately £ 12k.

Timescale: Work is programmed to start on Monday 4 March 2019 for approximately 3 weeks (weather permitting).

Development of the Potato Market

Summary: An Alston Moor Partnership driven scheme. Alston Town Heritage Initiative secured approximately £ 150k of funding as part of their Heritage Lottery Fund grant to undertake improvement works to the 'Potato market'. Mott Macdonald, a design consultant are designing the scheme with input from Cumbria County Council and the Town Heritage. The scheme will improve on under used space which was historically used as the potato market in the weekly markets. The scheme will provide an area which can used for markets, fairs or performance and will incorporate seating as a rest point and viewing area. 

Investment/Cost: Alston Townscape Heritage Initiative secured approximately £ 150k via the Heritage lottery.

Timescale: Works are due to start in Spring 2019 and are likely to last 2 - 3 months. These works are part of an Alston Moor Partnership Heritage Lottery Fund project supported by Cumbria County Council.

Alston 1

Consultation Results Map (PDF 2MB)

Should the street layout change to accommodate pedestrians?

Yes, but this is difficult in the narrow street environment and with the amount and number of HGV drivers. 

Pedestrians should be made a priority in the area from the Church to the Co-op and the area from the Co-op to the Alston Moor Partnership shop. 

Could the quantity of parking spaces reduce? 

Car parking is important for visitors and businesses, so it wouldn't be beneficial to reduce parking spaces. 

Residents who attended the drop-in said they didn't want to lose parking numbers however some people felt that there could be reduced parking in the area from the Church to the Co-op to allow more space for pedestrians. 

Better delineation and signage to free parking elsewhere was also asked for. 

Where are the areas that we should prioritise spending? 

Residents expressed spending should be prioritised from the Church to the Co-op and from the Co-op to the Alston Moor Partnership shop. 

Additional comments 

Better signage needed. Better use of green space at the bottom of Front Street needed. Safety of vehicles and pedestrians should be a priority. The cobbles should be retained in some form as they are imperative to Alston's heritage and the tourist trade.

Work is now underway by the council to try to secure the funds required to progress this exciting scheme.


Autumn 2017

Front Street steering group created to develop designs and investigate the possibility of external funding for a longer term solution. 

Drop-in events held on 3 May and 27 June 2018 

Consultation on public realm options started. 

October 2018 

Maintenance programmed works commence. Cobbles lifted and stored, replaced with asphalt. 

15 December 2018 

Drop-in event to be held to advise on the progress of the Front Street project and give community chance to ask questions. 

November 2018 - January 2019 

Works planned to upgrade the steps around the Market Cross (independent of this scheme but a Cumbria County Council led scheme). 

April 2019

Potato market works. Public realm improvements funded through the Townscape Heritage Initiative. Scheme will include some reclaimed cobbles approx. investment £ 100k.