Calls to fight controversial plans to demolish iconic Chesterfield town centre building

Historians are urging people to fight controversial plans to demolish an iconic Chesterfield town centre building.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 2:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 2:38 pm

Chesterfield Council has approved the demolition of the former North East Derbyshire Council headquarters on Saltergate – comprising the 1938-built original Chesterfield Rural District Council office and a more modern extension – to be replaced by retirement homes, but is waiting on the developer, McCarthy Stone, to sign a legal agreement.

The scheme was given the go-ahead in 2018, before an update report was approved in March 2020 – despite concerns over noise, traffic and the environment, which many arguing demolition is harmful and unnecessary.

A council spokesman said: “An application for redevelopment of the site was approved by the planning committee in January 2018.

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“As two years had passed, an update report was considered and approved by the committee in March 2020, which ratified the earlier decision.

“It is now up to the developers to sign the legal agreement so they can progress with the scheme.”

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Overgrown and unkempt

The former Chesterfield Rural District Council headquarters - later home to North East Derbyshire Council - was built in 1938.

The building has stood empty since 2015, when NEDC relocated to Wingerworth – and has been branded an eyesore.

Coun Howard Borrell, Chesterfield Liberal Democrats’ town centre spokesman, said last month: “The building is a boarded-up eyesore and beginning to look overgrown and unkempt.

“Given its prominent town centre position, this can only have a negative impact on the image of Chesterfield.”

Chesterfield Civic Society, commenting on the original application, said: “We feel the former CRDC office, which occupies the northern half of the street frontage and was designed by local architects Houfton & Kington, is a building of some merit.

The building is boarded-up and has been branded an eyesore.

“We appreciate, however, the applicants wish to redevelop the whole site and it is impracticable to retain part of the existing building.

“Given the quality of the design of the proposed new building, which we are impressed with, we agree it should be demolished.”

However, the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust is urging people to object to the scheme.

Barry Joyce, a trustee, said: “Irrespective of the fact it is a design of quality, existing buildings like this embody considerable quantities of carbon energy. Their demolition is a terrible waste, compounded by the fact more carbon energy is expended for a replacement building.

The building has been empty since North East Derbyshire Council relocated to Wingerworth in 2015.

“This flies in the face of any commitment to addressing the climate change emergency.”

McCarthy Stone declined to comment.

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The former North East Derbyshire Council headquarters on Saltergate, Chesterfield town centre.