The building has been vacant since 2014 – and now work is taking place to transform it into a Merkur Slots adult gaming centre (AGC).
Many of you aren’t happy about this development, though.
On our Facebook page, one reader said: “Yeah, I’m sure a casino is just what the town needs.”
Another commented: “It could have been put to better use!”
“Brilliant, we need more of these in the town centre… NOT!” someone else remarked with a raging face emoji.
Personally, I always think it’s very admirable when a business comes along to rejuvenate a disused unit in the town centre, creating new jobs.
People regularly contact the Derbyshire Times to complain about ‘all the empty shops’ on the high street – well, here we have a company (which doesn’t currently have an outlet in Chesterfield town centre) actively doing something to tackle that exact problem.
Obviously Merkur Slots has done its research before deciding to invest here.
In planning documents sent to the borough council, the firm said the AGC would ‘enhance the vitality and viability of this part of the town centre’, and bring ‘choice and competition’.
It pointed out that planning inspectors have previously backed applications in other areas.
In 2020, an inspector said an AGC in Doncaster ‘could add to the footfall and increase the opportunity for shared trips’ – in other words, people may decide to visit other businesses and spend a bit of cash with them after they’ve played and hopefully won their game.
Mercur Slots is also keen to stress ‘we are not a betting shop’, adding that the Chesterfield AGC would contain bingo machines and tablets – not controversial fixed odds betting terminals.
The machines will offer low stakes of between 10p and £2, with a Mercur Slots spokesperson said: “AGCs are where people go to spend their spare change, have a game of bingo and enjoy their favourite pastime – these machines have been around for many years.”
Of course, if you don’t want to visit this place, you don’t have to – there are plenty of other fantastic businesses in Chesterfield town centre.
Personally, though, I think this AGC hits the jackpot.