COUNCIL Leader John Burrows: ‘I will not apologise for talking Chesterfield up’.
And you know what, nor will I, and nor should you, because Chesterfield has an awful lot going for it.
As a regional newspaper Editor, I have been lucky enough to have managed titles in towns as close as Worksop and Mansfield to Sleaford, Skegness, Boston and Grantham.
My role keeps me in touch with fellow Editors from Sunderland to Portsmouth –and do you know what, we’re doing alright, thanks very much.
Yes, we are all – as a nation – having to ‘adapt or die’ as one of my Twitter followers keeps telling me, but I can assure you that the home of the crooked spire is putting up a much better fight in the face of this deep austerity than scores of other towns and cities.
Chesterfield’s retail occupancy rates are, to use a clunky metaphor, in a Champions League spot – in the top three in the country, according to a recent independent report.
That’s not by luck. It’s not even – as some cynics would have you believe – because every empty unit has had a charity shop shoe-horned in. It’s quite simply because Chesterfield people are committed to supporting their town centre by spending their cash locally.
And the reason they’re happy to part with their hard-earned on the high street, instead of handing it over to the faceless e-commerce organisations over the internet is because businesses in Chesterfield are busting a gut to make their shops attractive and affordable.
So whilst I don’t always see eye-to-eye with Mr Burrows, taking great pride in keeping him and his organisation on its toes – I think he’s absolutely right on this one – keep talking the town up, and investors will get the message about how attractive Chesterfield really is!
by James Mitchinson, Editor