Board 'broadly supportive' of plans to demolish Chesterfield Hotel
An investment board is 'broadly supportive' of plans to knock down the historic Chesterfield Hotel building.
Chesterfield Borough Council has applied to the D2N2 organisation for a grant to buy and demolish the huge property and then redevelop the Malkin Street site as part of HS2 plans.
HS2 - the high-speed rail route which will link the north with London - will see HS2-compatible trains serving Chesterfield station, which is around 200 yards from the Chesterfield Hotel building.
Councillor Tricia Gilby, leader of the council, told the Derbyshire Times: "HS2 offers a once in a generation opportunity to benefit both Chesterfield and the wider north Derbyshire and Peak District area.
"As part of the HS2 station masterplan announced last year, we are looking at options to improve the approach to the railway station and better connect it to the town centre, creating easy access to shopping, bars and restaurants.
"This would involve creating a better walking and public transport link from the station, across the A61 and into the town centre, as well as linking it up to the Chesterfield Waterside development. We are also looking at the possibility of a new link road to the railway station which would help reduce traffic congestion in the town centre.
"As part of this work we are looking to secure grants that would enable us to do some limited land acquisition to deliver on this vision and enable the town to benefit from HS2 ahead of the first trains arriving in 2033.
"But plans are at a very early stage and no decisions have been made. Public engagement will be really important before any firm plans are put in place and, where planning permission is needed, there will be further public consultation."
At this stage, it is not known exactly how the site would be redeveloped if the 141-year-old Chesterfield Hotel property is bought and demolished by the council.
We will learn more if the sale goes ahead and a planning application is submitted.
A council spokesperson said: "The D2N2 Infrastructure and Investment Board was broadly supportive of Chesterfield's approach to land strategy around the station, recognising this as a significant investment opportunity to the town.
"The board is keen to receive further information as part of a fuller business case and we expect to go back to them in a few weeks with more information."
'Critical land parcel'
The East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy report states: "We will use HS2 to complement existing rail services and transform links between Chesterfield station and the town centre, opening up regeneration opportunities and creating an attractive gateway to the Peak District National Park - one of the region’s unique destination offers.
"Unused and under-used land around the station will be developed and linked to the adjacent Chesterfield Waterside development to provide a mixed-use 'urban village' fit for future generations to live, work and play."
A council report describes the Chesterfield Hotel site as a 'critical land parcel' in the redevelopment of the station area.
The report adds: "The hotel has suffered from serial under-investment for a number of years and now represents a challenging issue for those promoting the station plans.
"Once brought under council control, we intend to secure planning for its demolition and redevelopment.
"In the period between acquisition and redevelopment the council sees a use for the land as a secure car park close to the station which can generate revenue."
Negotiations with owner
The council is now in negotiations with Prestige Hotels (Midlands) Ltd, which bought the Chesterfield Hotel building for Â£900,000 last year.
Currently, several members of the public are renting rooms at the prominent property.
Last November, a spokesperson for Prestige Hotels (Midlands) Ltd told the Derbyshire Times that the company had spent nearly Â£120,000 on repair and refurbishment work on the iconic 73-room building.
Chesterfield Hotel, formerly the Station Hotel, opened in 1877 and closed in 2015, making it one of the town's longest-running businesses.
Over the years, it was a venue for thousands of occasions - including weddings, birthday celebrations and Christmas parties - and was a major employer.
It has exchanged hands many times in its history.
The hotel shut more than three years ago after the company which previously owned it went bust.