In hard times the expectation is to make do and mend, but the cumulative value of these small investments amounts to millions of pounds.
They include essential repairs, small scale extensions, investments in energy saving and generation, new advertisements and decoration.
Done badly, we eventually notice the progressive decline in the character of our streets and urban areas as one insensitive act becomes the precedent for another.
Yet it is not the case over the hill in the National Park where the scale of investment is generally small but there is a public expectation that most changes will improve or not harm, and it works with profound economic benefits.
If small-scale investments in our area could be on the basis do less but do it well and plan for a later upgrade, then we could see real progress towards a more attractive environment for everyone.
In effect, I am advocating a more attractive environment for nothing other than care and attention.
Look at the footpath next to the town’s war memorial opposite the town hall. Both listed buildings in a conservation area and where there is a duty to preserve or enhance.
The original concrete paving was intended to fit in with the wall. Over time it had become in need of attention. The County Council solution was to remove all and tarmac the path.
The government is now making it possible to do more to properties without the safety net afforded by the local planning department.
This places a greater responsibility on us to think of others and our surroundings before we do something.
The conspicuous example of insensitivity occurred without the need for planning permission, but it should not provide the precedent for more.
Otherwise, ultimately we will all pay dearly by deflecting desirable investments elsewhere for investors need reasonable certainty that what attracts them is not going to be eroded by inconsiderate actions.
In effect getting something for nothing is not entirely true, someone has to arrange for it to happen.
Chairman Chesterfield Civic Society 10 September 2010