Rallying cry to help save ‘once beloved’ shopping area in north Derbyshire town

Dronfield Civic Centre shopping area.
Dronfield Civic Centre shopping area.

Concerns have been raised about the decline of a ‘once beloved’ shopping area in a north Derbyshire town.

The Civic Centre in Dronfield used to be made up of a number of different and well-known brands but it now consists of many empty units and charity shops.

Dronfield Civic Centre shopping area.'Kate Ollerenshaw who owns Geoff's D.I.Y store.

Dronfield Civic Centre shopping area.'Kate Ollerenshaw who owns Geoff's D.I.Y store.

And the remaining businesses have been dealt a huge blow as the Co-op supermarket is to close and be replaced by Poundstretcher.

In a letter posted online, Geoff’s DIY shop, which has been at the Civic Centre for more than 30 years, said: “Customer footfall has steadily decreased since 2005 as a Sainsbury’s was built within 200 yards of the Civic Centre. Alarmingly, the centre has never recovered and since then several shops have closed stating the primary reasons as increasing rents and downturn in footfall.

“The charity shops have done nothing to pull in lasting and regular customers but rather reiterates the decline of a once beloved area in crisis.”

Geoff’s DIY added that it hopes to remain at the centre.

Empty units in the Dronfield Civic Centre shopping area.

Empty units in the Dronfield Civic Centre shopping area.

Central England Co-operative confirmed it has entered into an agreement with Poundstretcher to sell its food store. All staff will be transferred across as part of the sale. The Co-op spokesman said: “The decision on the future of the store came following a full review of its trading performance, which indicated a decline in sales with increasing losses projected in future years.”

Councillor Alan Powell, the former town mayor who has lived in Dronfield for more than 40 years, said: “It is there for all to see. Once the bank left the number of people using the Civic Centre diminished and that I think affected the shops. Then the hairdresser moved out so the footfall got less and less.

“As far as the town council and district council is concerned we are looking at how we can do something about it.”