Updates given on multi-million pound projects aimed at revitalising Derbyshire towns

Staveley, Clay Cross and Long Eaton are set for major overhauls through millions of pounds in Government funding.

Sunday, 11th July 2021, 2:33 pm

Each of the three Derbyshire towns received around £25million respectively – totalling £74.1m – to carry out major regeneration projects aimed at bringing new leases of life to each area.

Council leaders and top officers from each of the areas gave updates on the schemes during a meeting this month.

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Staveley town centre will benefit from Government funding.

Gill Callingham, director of growth and economic development at North East Derbyshire District Council, said Clay Cross currently did not have a discernible town centre, along with a non-existent night-time economy.

She hoped that the £24.1m the town has received from the Government will bring a new lease of life to a place ‘probably overdue some investment’ which ‘had not really been looked at in that way for many years’.

Ms Callingham said: “It hasn’t had an awful lot of investment over quite a long period until we got Tesco into the town centre, which created a draw to Clay Cross, but its own problems as well.

“We want to change Clay Cross into somewhere that you stay in, you don’t just drop into Tesco and leave.”

She said the regeneration, which could include a new train station, regeneration of disused sites and a skills and employment hub, aims to provide benefits for many future generations.

Ms Callingham said the town lends itself to be some sort of energy creation pilot, if selected by Government.

She said a key aim was to keep business owners and landowners informed of projects to avoid the rumour mill effect.

Key projects include upgrades for Bridge Street and Market Street.

The former council depot in Bridge Street has already been demolished and cleared ready for regeneration as part of a ‘new town centre’.

This would also include land to the south of the former depot, still occupied by businesses which would be relocated as part of any redevelopment, Ms Callingham said.

She said: “We are looking at who needs to be relocated and how that needs to be done.”

The former Clay Cross Junior School in Bridge Street is set to be demolished to make way for low-carbon housing, Ms Callingham said, with the former school now unsafe to go in.

She said while £24.1m seems a lot of money, the big cost of development is buying land, which quickly eats up much of the funding, with a better use being to look at land already owned by the local authorities.

Long Eaton was the recipient of £24.8m.

Among its planned projects is a major change to the layout of The Green, a key roundabout junction in the town centre.

Councillor Carol Hart, leader of Erewash Borough Council, called the current junction – in front of the town hall – ‘horrendous’.

Two former cinemas in the town, the Box Office and the Galaxy, would be reclaimed – one as a ‘cultural hub’ for conferences and potentially film screenings, and the latter for conversion to homes for ‘young professionals’, she said.

Coun Hart said there was an aim to make more use of West Park, including a West Park Waterfront with moorings for boats and a food and drink facility.

In Staveley, council leaders were awarded £25.2m to make wholesale improvements to the area.

Coun Tricia Gilby, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said the projects aimed to celebrate ‘the cultural heritage of people from all backgrounds’ and provide people with new opportunities.

This will include DRIIVe which aims to be a ‘nationally significant’ rail innovation and training centre – partnering with Spanish rail firm Talgo and ahead of HS2.

Alongside this, there is an aim to reopen the town’s disused train station, reconnecting Staveley Station to the national rail network after more than half a century without one.

Hartington Industrial Park is another key project comprising a rail-connected employment site adjacent to the planned HS2 maintenance hub.

Staveley town centre – while diminutive – is set for regeneration to make it fit for the 21st century.

The Staveley Waterside scheme would include a wide range of new businesses and a visitor development alongside the new canal basin.

This will include a ‘hub’ for tourists and water-based leisure enthusiasts along with a cafe and office spaces.

The Barrow Hill Memorial Hall, a run-down social club, will be reclaimed as a new community hub, and several ‘lost’ sections of the Chesterfield Canal would be reinstated and used to connect the route to the national network.

Huw Bowen, chief executive of the borough council, said there were huge opportunities for Chesterfield and the wider area to be a place in which people shop, work and stay as opposed to having a long commute into a large city centre.

Ivan Fomin, chair of the Staveley Town Deal Board, said: “We are delighted at the news from Government that Staveley stands to be awarded £25.2m as part of the Towns Fund.

“Our plans are rooted in the needs and aspirations of Staveley’s communities, and have been driven by the board’s collective ambitions to attract the investment that this area deserves.

“Bringing funding on this scale to Staveley will transform the area and realise huge benefits to local people, both in terms of how they lead their everyday lives and take advantage of future opportunities.”

Lee Rowley, North East Derbyshire MP, said the funding was ‘fantastic news not only for Clay Cross and Staveley but for the whole of north east Derbyshire’.

He added: “When I first became the MP in 2017, people told me how they thought north east Derbyshire hadn’t received its fair share over the years and it has always been one of my missions to try to fix that.”

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