DERBYSHIRE: Historic hotel to be demolished
An historic hotel in Chesterfield town centre could be bought and demolished by the borough council to pave the way for HS2 plans, it has been revealed.
Chesterfield Borough Council has applied for an economic grant of £1.35 million to push through the plans.
The application will be discussed at a meeting of Derbyshire County Council’s infrastructure and investment board today, Thursday, May 24.
Chesterfield Hotel, which opened in 1877 and closed in 2015, was one of the town’s longest-running businesses.
The Malkin Street site has had a chequered past, transferring from owner to owner with declining success.
Now it could be bought and demolished by the borough council by January 2019.
While the site is redeveloped, it would be used as a secure car park to bring in money for the council.
Ambitious plans to bring the high-speed rail-line HS2 through North Derbyshire would see a 54-acre maintenance depot built in the Staveley Works area, securing 250 jobs – wider parts of the HS2 scheme include creating space for 1,500 homes.
This would be accompanied by an HS2-ready station – which the borough council is hoping to build on the current train station site surrounding Crow Line.
It is hoped that this would be a “world-class gateway to the Peak District and other northern Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire attractions”.
The aim is that this new “regional hub” would be able to handle traffic from commuters travelling across the UK.
These combined schemes, it is proposed, would bring in £330 million for the regional economy.
Creating the “regional hub” would involve the “significant redevelopment” of Chesterfield Station and the land around it.
The borough council says: “An indicative master plan was produced as part of the process showing the potential for station improvement, connectivity and the release of land for housing and commercial development.
“In all of this there are a number of pivotal land parcels that need to be brought into the control of the public sector.
“The Chesterfield Hotel is perhaps, the most important of all of these, a critical land parcel within the overall site assembly work to deliver our HS2 Growth Strategy plans.”
Due to the confidentiality of ongoing discussions the proposal has not been taken to the Labour-controlled borough council cabinet.
However, its leader and deputy leader have signed off on the scheme.
Owners Prestige Hotels (Midlands) Ltd bought the 141-year-old hotel for £900,000 last year, and had announced plans to spend £300,000 on repairs to overturn the “shambolic” state it had been left in.
The authority has begun negotiations with Prestige and hopes to secure a deal with the backing of D2N2.
It said: 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.
“Without securing control of key land parcels around the station, it is likely that proposals for development on those sites will come forward that do not fit with the ambition in the growth strategy.
“There is a very real opportunity to secure the hotel now which may not be available again in the foreseeable future.”
The wider Chesterfield Station masterplan includes 1,450 houses; a new hotel; car park; and station forecourt – along with 2,700 jobs.
A new Hollis Lane link road would be built, the existing Lordsmill roundabout would be remodelled to add a southern access to the station and improve traffic.
It is hoped that these plans will be finished by 2021.
Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service