COLUMN: Chesterfield Champion Jillian Mitchell talks about the importance of local business

This week's guest columnist, Chesterfield Champion Jillian Mitchell
This week's guest columnist, Chesterfield Champion Jillian Mitchell

Jillian Mitchell settled in Chesterfield nearly 20 years ago, with husband Andy.

Jillian, originally from Northern Ireland, trained as an architect and moved to England with work.

After spells in London (working on historic projects, like Windsor Castle) and in Sheffield (bus stations), she formed her own chartered practice in the mid-1990s to explore better ways of working in the construction industry.

Project Logistics Architecture Limited, at Markham Vale, focuses on what clients need from their buildings, whether they be private residential or commercial.

As it can be confusing to know where to start or daunting to approach an architect, the Chesterfield company is currently developing a model aiming to make improving homes a simpler and more achievable process.

What do you like best about living in Chesterfield and why?

Chesterfield is a really attractive town, with a rich and diverse history. I love being able to potter around town and the feeling of everything being ‘local’.

What are your favourite ways to spend your free time in Derbyshire?

I recently joined the Chesterfield Civic Society and have really enjoyed finding out more about the area during its monthly talks. I also enjoy a variety of crafts, particularly textiles, and there is much to discover in the area; Derbyshire Open Arts is a great way to enjoy a huge range of art in the spring.

Where is your favourite place to eat out locally and why?

We love The Elm Tree at Heath, which has a great choice between the restaurant or Tapas in the bar and The Miners at Milltown is a great treat after an arduous walk in the hills! At lunch time, The Castle Oven in Bolsover is hard to beat for fresh sandwiches and customer service.

What are the positives about running a business here?

I like the fact that we can be small and local, and yet work regionally at the same time.

How do you see the future for Chesterfield and its small businesses?

Destination Chesterfield and the Chamber of Commerce both promote small businesses well. Chesterfield will always support small businesses, as long as they continue to be set up and run by entrepreneurial people who work hard to deliver a good service. I do sometimes worry that this gets lost in the corporate world, where cost seems more important than value.

If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you do to improve Chesterfield?

We have a terrific, local identity that needs to be enhanced by good quality new developments, which will make the town an attractive destination in which to invest, live and work. So, I would use my magic wand to give the decision-makers the powers to insist on high-quality, relevant and well-designed developments.

What three words best sum up Chesterfield?

Local, Historic and Friendly.