Does Chesterfield need more offices?
A council chief has described Chesterfield’s new enterprise centre as a ‘key part of our economic recovery plan’ – after questions were asked about whether the town needs more offices given the rise in homeworking.
Work is progressing well on the construction of the enterprise centre, which is expected to open this spring and promises to be a key element of the £19.9million Northern Gateway project.
According to Chesterfield Borough Council, the building, on part of the Donut roundabout, will provide 32 ‘high-quality’ offices over three floors – but some people have contacted the Derbyshire Times to raise concerns.
On our Facebook page, one reader said: “Working from home is the new norm now. Why do we need more offices?”
Another asked if the enterprise centre would be ‘good value for money for the council taxpayer’.
However, Coun Dean Collins, the council’s cabinet member for economic development, defended the development.
He said: “The Northern Gateway enterprise centre aims to support small and newly-established businesses – it is a key part of our economic recovery plan.
“The centre will provide office accommodation, but it also provides business and administration support, flexible lease terms and exceptional connectivity which will help businesses based in the centre to grow and flourish.
“Tenants will also have access to expert business advice.”
He added: “It is worth noting that this project is already benefitting Chesterfield’s economy and our residents.
“Robert Woodhead (the contactor working on the enterprise centre) have been fantastic in meeting their obligations under the local labour clause and in supporting local careers and skills development.
“More than a million pounds has been spent in the local supply chain, 50 per cent of the people employed on site live locally and two apprenticeships have been created on site.
“As well as this Robert Woodhead have supported initiatives like My Future, which provides careers information for young people and provided a career talk for college students.
“The company is also a key partner in the Women in Construction Mentoring scheme which aims to support more local women to pursue careers in the construction sector.”
Coun Collins said the council’s existing centres offering space for companies – at Dunston and Tapton – have ‘already supported more than 300 businesses’.