Civic leaders say it is 'almost inconceivable' another retailer will move into Eyres of Chesterfield building

Civic leaders have commented on the ‘hammer-blow’ loss of historic Chesterfield furniture business Eyres.

Friday, 20th May 2022, 3:31 pm

Chesterfield and District Civic Society say news the company had ceased trading was unsurprising but it left further questions about the future of the town centre.

Society chairman Philip Riden said: “The news that Eyres is finally giving up the unequal struggle to run an independent department store in a not particularly prosperous town of 70,000 will hardly come as a surprise to most people.

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Civic leaders have commented on the ‘hammer-blow’ loss of historic Chesterfield furniture business Eyres.

"It has for years been the sort of shop where people walk past and say ‘I never see anybody in there’.”

The society says attention will now turn to what happens to the building in the long-term.

"It is almost inconceivable that another retailer will be found to go into a building the size and age of Eyres store, or that a non-retail use can be found for the building,” Mr Riden added.

"There is a limit to how many former shops can be turned into flats, and a purpose-built department store like the Eyre’s building, with its huge windows, high ceilings and rambling internal layout, is almost certainly unsuitable for conversion.”

Mr Riden says this could be the moment to consider whether the future of the town centre will be more residential.

"This does not necessarily just mean more blocks of flats but also family homes with gardens and car-parking space, of the sort that have never disappeared from most European towns,” he said in the society’s April newsletter.

“This would be a radical change in land use in a town like Chesterfield, but is perhaps worth trying.

"It would surely be a better solution than leaving land vacant or using it for car parks, few would claim that the appearance of Holywell Street and Saltergate has been improved by the creation of the Donut car park, and there is a limit to how many new blocks of flats or offices the town centre can support, much less new shops.”