Apprentice Town status makes Chesterfield a magnet for investors

Steve Brunt.
Steve Brunt.

I’m Councillor Steve Brunt, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centre and visitor economy.

I’m 65 years old, married to Jill and together we have four grown up children. The latest additions to the family are two granddaughters and a grandson.

I was born in Chesterfield and brought up in Pilsley.

Leaving school without formal qualifications, I took up an apprenticeship at Clay Cross Works as a moulder-coremaker. I spent five years there before moving into the mining industry. During this time, I studied a course in economics, politics and industrial relations, sponsored by my trade union.

I won a scholarship from the Don and Florence McGregor Trust in 1986. This took me to South Africa to examine and report on the growth of the South African National Union of Mineworkers and Health and Safety in the country’s gold and coal mines. The demise of the mining industry led me to return to learning full time, gaining an Urban Studies degree from Sheffield Hallam University, followed by a Master’s Degree in Post 16 Education and Training from Sheffield University, quickly followed by a teaching qualification.

I taught at Rother Valley College and Clowne College before moving to the Northern College, where I developed the Coalfields Learning Project; a project designed to support learning opportunities in the former mining communities of South Yorkshire. I’m a keen sportsman and have played and refereed local football for 35 years. I was a founding member of North Derbyshire Running Club, and am currently a qualified cricket umpire, standing in the Derbyshire County and Mansfield leagues.

Which local business would you recommend and why?

We work closely with Destination Chesterfield supporting the Champions and other events organised by them and we feel that all their members and businesses are committed to keeping Chesterfield thriving and I admire them for that.

How would you describe Chesterfield to a potential investor?

We are an Apprentice Town with close to 5,000 young people embarking on apprenticeships. This gives investors in Chesterfield access to a pool of high quality skills that will enable their businesses to grow and prosper.

Which development do you think will most benefit the town?

I am excited about the residential housing developments on the former North East Derbyshire’s Council offices and Saltergate Health centre sites as they will bring a further 124 residences close to the town centre. This, along with the development of 11 apartments at the old Queens Head on Glumangate, will certainly add vibrancy to our town centre.

Which national shops and restaurants would you like to see investing here?

I’d like to see the well-established Bistrot Pierre French restaurant chain choose to locate here, perhaps the popular fashion retailer Zara and as many independent retailers, pop-ups and social enterprises as we can attract!

Which high profile events are working well in Chesterfield and what kinds of events would you like to see in the future?

Chesterfield is continually staging events to satisfy the needs of our residents and to attract visitors to the Borough. These include the popular 1940s, Christmas, artisan, young people’s and Medieval mMarkets. This year also sees the introduction of the ‘Chesterfield Eye Ferris Wheel’ coming to town during February and March, and a number of ‘food and groove’ weekends are planned for 2018.

Where in the town do you spend your leisure time?

It is very encouraging to see a wide range of new restaurants, coffee shops and bars coming to Chesterfield, many of which are owned and run by enthusiastic young people. I wish them every success and will continue to support them as much as I can. In addition, I play a little golf at Tapton Park Golf Club, Umpire local cricket and enjoy visiting the Cineworld cinema with my wife Jill.