Staveley residents slam council plans for town centre regeneration as “waste of money” and call for business owners to have their say
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Chesterfield Borough Council (CBC) have recently released updated plans for Staveley 21 – the authority’s £6 million scheme to regenerate Staveley town centre.
The scheme is funded by the Staveley Town Deal, but Graham Challand, a member of business campaign group Staveley Improvement Team, said almost everyone in charge of delivering the project was from somewhere other than Staveley.
“The Town Deal is run by CBC, who set up the Staveley Town Deal Board. There are 16 members of the board, and only one is a resident of Staveley.”
“The SIT asked for one seat on the board, and we got the support from the then-minister Dianna Davison. She wrote a letter to CBC saying they should let us have a seat on the board, but they still refused.”
Councillor Dean Rhodes represents Inkersall Green on Staveley Town Council, and is also a member of the Staveley Improvement Team. He said residents wanted to see the area improved – but claimed that they do not feel involved in the process.
“Staveley residents do want the area rejuvenated – they voted for that, but they haven’t been included in any of the plans. They haven’t asked any of the shop owners about the plans.”
Graham said that, with a series of housing developments in and around Staveley, the town’s population was set to grow by around 8,400 residents over the next 15 years. He stressed that, in order to take advantage of this growth, improvements to the town centre were vital.
He said: “There’s a formula to work out local expenditure – the local expenditure that will result from those new households is £86 million a year, which could be spent locally. We want the money to be spent in our town, and we need a town centre where local people can spend their money. It means we need a larger town centre.
“There’s also the proposal for Chesterfield-Staveley Regeneration Route (CSRR), I’m told a decision is imminent and it’s looking positive. The road might finally get built. When it’s built, it will mean we won’t have the through traffic through Staveley town centre any more. There’s a golden opportunity to reopen the high street one-way. Initially, until the CSRR is built, it should just reopen for buses.
Graham said the pavilion building in CBC’s plans would likely end up as a library – something he felt was unnecessary given that the town already has one at Hall Lane.
He said: “We’ve got a library on Hall Lane, but Derbyshire County Council have been offered to have space in the new building. What will they do then? Rent space in the new building, close the library and sell it. Where will the money go? Matlock. Where will the rent money from this new building go? Chesterfield. Where was this money designed to improve? Staveley. How does that help Staveley?
Graham added that the artist impressions for the Market Square had left him unimpressed – and that a Boxpark or STACK development was something that should be considered
“We suggested to CBC that the priority is to demolish all these buildings and build a stack or box park development. There are developments like these in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland – with more being built in Bishop Auckland and Durham. It’s cheap, it’s temporary, it’s affordable, and it changes the image of somewhere.”
Graham urged the council to listen to the views and expertise of Staveley residents when developing plans for the town - something he said was not happening currently.
“In 2026, the Staveley Town Board Deal will wind up, and all those people will go away. The residents will be left with the mess, the waste of money and a town centre that is still not fit for purpose.
Councillor Kate Sarvent, CBC’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy said: “One of the council’s key objectives for the next four years is ‘to strengthen the distinctive character and vibrancy of our town centres’.
“Our Staveley 21 project is a package of improvement measures that aims to make Staveley town centre a more attractive and connected place, boosting business confidence and creating an enhanced retail and leisure offer for residents and visitors.
“In 2021, we developed and consulted the people of Staveley on a new Vision and Masterplan for the town centre. Staveley residents voiced their strong support for the Vision and Masterplan, and as a first step towards delivery Chesterfield Borough Council has secured £6m from the Staveley Town Deal to enable implementation of the Staveley 21 project.”
A public drop-in session around the plans will take place on Wednesday, November 8 – between 1.00pm and 3.00pm in the café area in Staveley’s Healthy Living Centre.
Coun Sargent added: “The Staveley Improvement Team have already had the benefit of seeing the updated proposals and when we presented the same to a recent meeting of Staveley Town Council, we received a generally warm reception to the improvement measures proposed.
“The pavilion building will form a striking new focal point in the heart of the town centre. Several uses for the building are under consideration including as a potential site for the relocation of Derbyshire County Council’s Staveley library but also alternative uses for retail, health, leisure, and business start-up uses are being considered, which will encourage more people to visit the town centre.
“There is still time for people to comment on the updated proposals. Council staff have already been engaging directly with businesses in Staveley town centre with visits to individual premises, and drop-in sessions are planned at the Healthy Living Centre and at other locations in the coming weeks for businesses and the public to come and express their views directly to the Council on the updated proposals.”