CHESTERFIELD: Businesses asked to help shape town’s Gateway plans

NDET 31-1-13 MC 5'Creative Derbyshire breakfast. Jeremy Asquith Chesterfield College
NDET 31-1-13 MC 5'Creative Derbyshire breakfast. Jeremy Asquith Chesterfield College

MARKETING groups Destination Chesterfield and Creative Derbyshire hosted a Creative Innovation and Business Growth meeting at Ringwood Hall Hotel, today, Thursday, January 31, to discuss plans for the area including the town’s proposed Gateway developments.

Council leader John Burrows, of Chesterfield Borough Council, which is a key Destination Chesterfield partner, urged businesses to provide input and support funding to help shape the Northern Gateway shopping development and other new Gateway entrance plans to Chesterfield.

He told the meeting, in Brimington: “Destination Chesterfield will continue to sell the brand of Chesterfield through Derbyshire, the north and the country.

“We’re urging people to sign up as Destination Chesterfield Champions and support our funding bids.

“We put up signs and got a hiding for not putting the Crooked Spire on them and we’ve changed these now and we’re making sure we don’t make this kind of mistake again and we need to make sure the traditions of Chesterfield are seen as the enhancements develop.”

Environmental consultants TEP have been appointed and will be listening to people’s views and asking businesses to select their top three other sites for gateway developments around the outskirts of Chesterfield to support the Hornsbridge Gateway and the Northern Gateway, near the Doughnout roundabout.

These include Lords Mill roundabout, the railway station, the coach station, Markham Road, West Bars and Saltergate.

Cllr Burrows also stated that considerng the exact numbers coming in through the Gateways would among their priorities.

Graeme Atherton, of TEP, said: “Businesses are being asked to help consider three sites and we will be lisetning to what people say.

“The Northern Gateway enhancement will be your first impression of entering the town centre. We’ve funding from Europe and through Barratt Homes there will be funding for an art scheme.”

Cllr Burrows also explained there will a £495,000 Arts Council funding scheme to improve Chesterfield theatres.

He also explained that despite the announced planned closure of Midlands Co-op Society’s Fashion and Home store, on Chesterfield, it is hoped that the building would still be worked into the Northern Gateway plan.

Derbyshire County Cllr John Allsop, technology chief, explained how Creative Derbyshire aims to nurture and develop creativity in the county to support such developments.

He said: “We want to foster a culture of innovation which will be a key driver of growth in Derbyshire.”

Tourism business Audio Trails revealed how it has introduced 13 audio machines in the Peak District and others around Chesterfield which feature stories about the region for visitors.

Chesterfield College’s art and design chief Jeremy Asquith stressed to the meeting the importance of arts by arguing the financial industry sector only contributes one per cent more to the country’s growth domestic product than the arts industry. Director Charlie Langhorne, of Wild in Art, also stressed the importance of art in new developments to engage schools and communities.

The college is also planning to support future business by transforming Chesterfield’s old Grammar School building into a base for new businesses.

Kaye Twomlow, of Derbyshire Business Education Partnership, also urged businesses to take on more youngsters because it is felt they are among the most creative in developing ideas.