Could Chesterfield town centre enjoy a boost thanks to Government funding?
Chesterfield Borough Council says it is '˜very interested' in applying for money from a Government fund to help reinvigorate town centres.
The Â£675million fund was announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in October’s Budget but the bidding process opened this week.
A council spokesperson told the Derbyshire Times: “One of our top priorities is helping to keep town centres in the borough thriving so we are very interested in applying for a grant from the Future High Streets Fund.
“The Government has published documents over Christmas that set out the detailed terms and conditions of applying and the criteria you need to meet to make a successful bid. They have also made clear that any bid will need the support of a range of organisations within the community.
“We need to go through those documents in detail and then, if we meet the criteria, talk to a range of partners to gain the necessary support required to put forward a scheme for the March deadline that stands the best chance of success.”
Communities minister Jake Berry said: “We all know high streets are changing – we can’t hide from this reality.
“But we’re determined to ensure they continue to sit at the heart of our communities for generations to come.
“To do this we have to support investment in infrastructure, boosting local economies and ensuring people are able to get the most out of their local high streets.
“Empowering leaders on the ground is key too – they best understand the challenges facing their areas.
“Our Future High Streets Fund will drive forward this change, transforming our town centres into the thriving community hubs of the future.”
Online shopping is a key challenge for the country’s high streets: in 2000 it accounted for less than one per cent of retail sales while in August almost a fifth of all retail sales took place online.
Several developments are currently taking place or are in the pipeline to bring more housing to Chesterfield town centre.