Regeneration of Chesterfield station and gateway to town 'not dependent on HS2'
Civic leaders have welcomed news that a masterplan developed for the Chesterfield station gateway is not dependent on HS2 serving the town.
Members of Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet approved ambitious plans to rejuvenate the area between Chesterfield town centre and the train station earlier this month.
Council leaders say the HS2 Station Master Plan could create around 850 jobs in the town.
The document is now subject to a four-week public consultation, and Chesterfield and District Civic Society has been asked for its views on the scheme.
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The society says parts of the plan are a ‘vast improvement’ and welcomed the fact regeneration works will not be dependent on the HS2 high speed rail line.
Society chairman Philip Riden said: “Perhaps the most important aspect of the project is that its execution is definitely not dependent on HS2B going ahead.
"Separate funding has been arranged and the station itself is not to be enlarged or rebuilt.
"Until it becomes clear how far demand for passenger travel recovers after the pandemic, never mind whether HS2B, or some alternative, goes ahead, it would be pointless to plan, for example, for another platform at Chesterfield.
"To do so would merely delay the urgently needed improvement of the station approach.
“Combined with the Waterside scheme, which is beginning to take shape, the station master plan promises to transform not merely the approach to the station but whole of the north-east edge of the town centre, which was built-up piecemeal with generally unremarkable buildings in the second half of the 19th Century.”
Mr Riden says the master plan is the first scheme since 1870 aimed specifically at improving access to Chesterfield railway station.
He described the new pedestrian ‘boulevard’ from the edge of the town centre, down the hillside to the station, as an ‘improvement on Corporation Street’, and the ‘wider, better designed bridge over the inner relief road’ as a ‘vast improvement on the present route along Durrant Road and Malkin Street’.
The society contributed to reports on the masterplan produced by Chesterfield Borough Council and consultants, Whittam Cox, and will be commenting further as part of the ongoing consultation period.
Coun Dean Collins, the council’s cabinet member for economic growth, has previously said if HS2 ‘doesn’t come off then the Station Master Plan will become its own masterplan’.