Waterside boss warns caravan showroom will ‘create a hole’ in £340million Chesterfield regeneration project

The director of Chesterfield’s Waterside development has warned plans to allow a caravan showroom to operate on the site will ‘create a hole’ in the middle of the £340million regeneration scheme.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 1:44 pm

The application by Future Properties Ltd / Kimberley Caravan Centre Ltd to transform the currently disused site in Holbeck Close into a caravan and motorhome sales centre with associated offices and workshop was approved by Chesterfield Borough Council for a temporary period of three years. The move is expected to create 37 jobs.

However, Peter Swallow, of Chesterfield Waterside Ltd, spoke against the proposal to the authority’s planning committee this week.

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Peter Swallow, managing director of Bolsterstone Group PLC, the company which is leading the development of Chesterfield Waterside

“Chesterfield Waterside is a major strategic site, fundamental to the regeneration of Chesterfield town and Chesterfield Canal,” he said.

“It is also a key strategic site required to make a significant contribution to the borough’s housing and employment requirements.”

He added that the application was contrary to the Local Plan and would result in a ‘piecemeal development, which would significantly prejudice the comprehensive redevelopment of Chesterfield Waterside’.

Chesterfield Cycle Campaign raised concerns that the caravan showroom would not provide the riverside walkway and cyclepath as outlined in the Waterside masterplan.

Development management and conservation manager Paul Staniforth said with a proposed occupancy period of just three years, it would not be sustainable for the landowner to carry out the necessary work to include a riverside path.

He added that if the application had been for a permanent basis it would have been recommended for refusal as it did not fit in with long-term regeneration plans.

Mr Staniforth said: “The site isn’t being used for anything at the moment so it will provide a use for a temporary period.

“The alternative is that it sits doing nothing, deteriorating, not creating jobs.”

He said if necessary, the council had the power to use a compulsory purchase order to buy the land from the applicant.

Speaking after the meeting, director of DLP Planning Jim Lomas, who was acting on behalf of the applicant, said his client was keen to have a base in Chesterfield, given its proximity to the Peak District National Park and the growth of caravanning as a pastime during the Covid pandemic.