COLUMN: Regeneration schemes will bring different benefits to town
I relocated to Chesterfield with my family in 2011 when I became Destination Chesterfield manager and we love living and working in Chesterfield - it is a great place to bring up my two sons.
I was born in Chesterfield and grew up in Matlock before heading to university and working to promote historic towns and cities across the country. I then returned home when Destination Chesterfield launched in October 2010 to raise the profile of the town as a place to invest, work live and visit. It celebrates all that is great about north Derbyshire from the people, the businesses, the buildings and the countryside.
There is a small and passionate operations team promoting Chesterfield, Tara Underhill, Lydia Gregson and I. We deliver many projects supported closely by both the regeneration team at Chesterfield Borough Council and the 170 businesses who are Chesterfield Champions.
1. Which development do you think will most benefit the town?
I think the major regeneration schemes in Chesterfield will have different impacts on the town and benefit it different ways. Northern Gateway brings forward new leisure and hotel facilities for the town centre. It also creates an innovation centre in the town centre for start- up businesses as well as a new multi-storey car park.
Peak Resort completely changes the visitor economy offer for Chesterfield. Once complete it will almost double the amount of hotel bed spaces in Chesterfield. This creates a huge opportunity to develop Chesterfield as the centre for the Peak District rather than a place people pass through on the way.
The regeneration of Markham Vale has already created more than 1400 new jobs on the site and the growth of the logistics sector in the town has attracted a number of high profile inward investors including Ferdinand Bilstein and Great Bear.
Chesterfield Waterside will create a new gateway next to the railway station with more people living and working within walking distance of our historic town centre.
Looking further ahead we have the proposed HS2 maintenance depot at Staveley - taking advantage of the towns engineering and manufacturing skills and the further development of the town centre around the HS2 train station.
2. Which shops and restaurants would you like to see investing here?
We have a great mix of independents and high street names. I would like to see more independents opening and flourishing in the town as this is what makes our offer distinctive. In terms of the restaurant offer in the town centre there is a need for more family orientated chain restaurants to complement the growing independent offer.
3. Which high profile events are working well in Chesterfield and what kinds of events would you like to see in the future?
In 2018 there is a brilliant mix of things happening. We have the Barrow Hill Rail Ale Festival, Lionel Richie at the Proact, Jules Holland at Barrow Hill Roundhouse, Chesterfield Food and Drink Festival, Chesterfield Street Food Festival, Chesterfield Pride, Chesterfield Fake Festival, Chesterfield Walking Festival, Medieval and 1940s’ events in the town centre, Chesterfield Festival of Cricket, Festival of Christmas Trees and The Chesterfield Half Marathon to name a few.
4. Where in the town do you spend your leisure time?
Spending family time together. That could be a walk around one of Chesterfield’s country parks or nature reserves, taking the boys to Queens Park for a ride on the train and then a Fredericks ice cream or attending one of the family orientated festivals or events that take place in the town.
We are also lucky with the number of entertainment venues we have! You can’t beat a meal at one of the town’s restaurants followed by a night of live entertainment. The Winding Wheel, Pomegranate Theatre, Real Time Live and The Avenue offer a great mix of live music, comedy and theatre.
I am also a keen runner and Derbyshire has excellent testing terrain. You can easily get out into the Peak District countryside, one of the most picturesque places in the world.