'Do not put local people off': Civic leaders give their verdict on plans for Chesterfield Market
Civic leaders have had their say on plans to revitalise Chesterfield Market and create a ‘vibrant open-air shopping experience’.
Chesterfield Borough Council revealed its hopes to transform the historic market with new event space, seating, and landscaping this summer.
The draft Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield Vision Master Plan aims to ensure the market area remains a modern shopping destination, despite the challenges posed by online shopping and the Covid-19 pandemic.
A consultation is taking place currently, and Chesterfield and District Civic Society has now given its views on the plans.
The group has welcomed the proposals but cautioned against making permanent changes which future generations might want to undo.
“In general we welcome the proposed changes, but only on the basis that they should be seen as experiments which can be reversed if they prove unsuccessful or replaced with other innovations if new ideas come along in the future,” the society said in a statement.
"Essentially, this means that change should not involve new building in the Market Place, but should leave it as a single, large open space which can be used differently in the future if necessary.
"We consider it essential that the open market be seen as a dynamic institution which is bound to change at least once every generation as consumers’ habits change.”
The group also says the market’s ‘great success story in recent years’ has been the Thursday flea market – and so advised against plans to remove stalls entirely from New Square.
It also said any upgrading of the stalls themselves should ensure they do not become ‘shelters for the homeless’ as it claims has happened in Sheffield.
The society said: “Some tidying up of any open market is probably always both possible and desirable, but trying to turn Chesterfield Market Place into something that reminds people of continental holidays, or even visits to much wealthier towns in the south of England, is almost certainly bound to fail.
"It is unlikely to attract many more tourists and may put some local people off.”
The draft proposals were approved by the council’s cabinet in July and are out for public consultation until September 12.
Find out more about the plans by visiting the Chesterfield Borough Council website.