Residents urged to have their say on Chesterfield’s economic future

Chesterfield Town Centre
Chesterfield Town Centre

Residents and businesses are encouraged to take part in a consultation on a devolution deal from the Government which aims to secure powers and funding to create new jobs and training opportunities for Chesterfield people.

The consultation until 12 August and will give people the opportunity to have their say on one of the biggest decisions made by Chesterfield Borough Council in recent years.

Rather than decisions on issues which affect people day-to-day being made by ministers and civil servants in London, Sheffield City Region has negotiated a deal with the Government which will see £900 million in funding over 30 years and £484 million over the next five years handed to local decision makers.

In April this year, councillors from all three political parties represented on the council voted that Chesterfield Borough Council should become a full member of the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority.

This would see the borough benefit in a share of this funding to:

Provide investment to bring former industrial sites back into use

Support start-up businesses and encourage existing businesses to grow

Provide skills and training for Chesterfield residents to ensure they have the skills they need for newly-created jobs

Invest in new housing

Provide better local transport links.

Councillor John Burrows, Chesterfield Borough Council’s leader, said: “It’s important that Chesterfield residents and businesses take part in the consultation and understand the issues at stake.

“In the next few years, we will create around 2,400 jobs for local people. This is thanks to funding from Sheffield City Region for projects including: Northern Gateway including the Co-op redevelopment, Peak Resort, Markham Vale and Chesterfield Waterside.

“There is no plan B; we either accept the deal on offer and allow Chesterfield residents and businesses to share in the benefits or we miss out on the money and leave the powers with ministers and civil servants in London.”

Being a full member of the Sheffield City Region would not mean changes to services already offered by Chesterfield Borough Council including: refuse collection, street cleaning, leisure and park facilities, regeneration, housing, markets, theatres and tourism.

There are also no changes to the borough’s geographical boundaries. Chesterfield will remain part of Derbyshire. Derbyshire County Council will remain responsible for services including: education, children and young people’s services, adult care and libraries.

The only exception will be transport services. The mayor would have control over public transport to ensure services are more integrated to better serve the needs of local people. The county council will continue to maintain roads in Chesterfield as at present.

Councillor Burrows added: “I am proud to be from Derbyshire, I have said it time and again, I am Derbyshire born, Derbyshire bred and in Derbyshire, I’ll lay my head.

“The deal is not about taking Chesterfield into Sheffield and giving away powers but about accessing powers and funding that will benefit local people and businesses.

“A share of £900 million over 30 years and £484 million over the next five years is a significant amount of funding and the proposed devolution deal would allow local people to have their say on how this is spent rather than being at the back of the queue when it comes to funding from the Government so it’s vital people engage in the process and have their say.”

There are two consultation events taking place for people to find out more.

The first is a public meeting at the Winding Wheel, Holywell Street, Chesterfield on Monday 11 July at 6.30pm. This is open to all residents and businesses in Chesterfield borough and will allow them to ask questions of the council’s leader, Councillor John Burrows and chief executive, Huw Bowen.

There will also be a drop-in session in Chesterfield’s Market Hall on Friday 15 July from 10am to 4pm.

People can take part in the consultation at: www.sheffieldcityregiondevolution.org.uk. Paper copies of the consultation will also be available at the council’s Customer Service Centre in New Square.

The final decision on whether Chesterfield can be a member of the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority and share in the benefits of the devolution deal will be made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the autumn ahead of mayoral elections in May 2017.