Updates given on various developments in Chesterfield at investment summit

Chesterfield is on course for a faster recovery from the pandemic than many other towns and cities, a meeting heard.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 4:34 pm

The Chesterfield Investment Summit was also told 2022 looks set to be a formative year for the town as a number of ‘high-quality’ office developments – One Waterside Place, the Glass Yard and the enterprise centre on part of the Donut roundabout – are expected to be completed.

Construction is also planned to begin on Summit @PEAK, an activity park including climbing walls, caving courses, adventure golf and e-karting at the PEAK site near Unstone.

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A number of developments are taking place in Chesterfield and surrounding areas as the pandemic goes on.

And Chesterfield Borough Council is pressing ahead with its proposals to transform the area around Chesterfield railway station.

The multi-million-pound station masterplan, which includes the demolition of the former Chesterfield Hotel, promises to ‘create a sense of arrival’ with modern landscaping and land freed up for residential, commercial and light industrial developments.

Demolition of the old hotel building is expected to begin in the spring with detailed plans for redevelopment of the site still to be confirmed.

Wednesday’s summit at Casa Hotel, which was attended by more than 130 members of the business community, also heard the borough’s level of unemployment increased by 46 per cent during the pandemic – compared to the national average of 77 per cent.

Dr Huw Bowen, chief executive of Chesterfield Borough Council. Picture by Matthew Jones Photography.

The town’s high rate of public sector employment, combined with its strong retail, manufacturing and logistics sectors, are said to be the key reasons behind Chesterfield’s significantly lower increase in unemployment during the coronavirus crisis compared to the national average.

‘Ambitious plans’

Speaking at the summit, Dr Huw Bowen, chief executive of the borough council, revealed the town’s plans for its recovery and growth include proposals to make the case for the re-opening of a rail line and a new £125million road in the north east of the borough.

He said: “The town has shown a great degree of resilience and done really well during the pandemic.

Rupert Carr, the man behind PEAK. Picture by Matthew Jones Photography.

“We are now looking towards recovery and growth.

“Chesterfield’s myriad of competitive advantages, including location, history, transport links, university, skills base, affordability and current construction projects, have come together to make it an attractive opportunity for investors.”

Despite the ‘bitterly disappointing news’ to axe the eastern leg of HS2, Dr Bowen said: “This won’t stop us in bringing forward our ambitious plans to redevelop the former Staveley Works Corridor.

“We look forward to working with the landowners to bring forward a mixed-use scheme comprising housing, leisure, retail, and light industrial units anchored around a new road and Chesterfield Canal.”

Councillor Tricia Gilby, borough council leader. Picture by Matthew Jones Photography.

At the summit it was announced that the borough council remains hopeful that the Government will commit to supporting the reopening of the former Barrow Hill line which will connect Staveley, Barrow Hill and Whittington to Chesterfield and Sheffield.

Proposals for the re-opening of the rail line will, all being well, be submitted early next year.

A total of £1billion of investment is expected to be made in Staveley over the next 15 years, creating 3,500 new homes and 2,200 new jobs.

Dr Bowen added: “We have two priorities – to make Chesterfield a thriving borough and improve the quality of life for local people.”

Speaking at the summit, Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield and managing director of Bolsterstone Group PLC, which is developing the 60-acre Chesterfield Waterside scheme, told of the need for modern office space.

He said: “The pandemic has brought about changes in the requirements for office space.

“Businesses want good quality, sustainable office space with environmental and social governance being a key consideration.

“Once again, Chesterfield is ahead of the curve with the modern, quality office developments already under construction which will enable the town to attract investors, create jobs and new opportunities for local people.”

‘Exciting time for Chesterfield’

In addition to Dr Bowen and Mr Swallow, the summit also heard from representatives from the town’s public and private partnership – Lomas Mitchell Architects, Whittam Cox Architects, Blue Deer Developments, Devonshire Property Group Limited and Derbyshire County Council – which are working together to ensure Chesterfield meets its ambitions.

Jillian Mitchell, of Lomas Mitchell Architects and vice-chair of Destination Chesterfield’s property and construction group, said: “Nationally, we are on the precipice of a time of seismic change in property design and Chesterfield is ahead of the game on this.

“The town’s commitment to sustainable construction through private and public collaboration is an opportunity for Chesterfield to lead on nationally.”

Councillor Tricia Gilby, leader of the borough council, added: “I am very pleased at the wide range of construction projects going ahead across the borough right now.

“All these developments represent new jobs and opportunities for local people, especially those looking to start their careers.

“Making sure that Chesterfield residents benefit from local economic growth is a key priority for us and our partners.

“A great example of this is the mentoring support provided by Chesterfield Property and Construction Group, which helps ensure that local people get the jobs that are coming to Chesterfield – including those created during the construction phase of projects, as well as opportunities within the businesses that relocate and grow here.

“It is a very exciting time for Chesterfield, which has been made possible by the hard work and commitment that the council and its partners have put in over many years.”

The annual summit, which was held in-person for the first time in two years, was organised by Destination Chesterfield and Derbyshire Economic Partnership and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

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