Revamp of Chesterfield's historic Winding Wheel building is approved

The Winding Wheel.
The Winding Wheel.

Councillors have approved plans to revamp Chesterfield's historic Winding Wheel building.

A £426,000 project - which was approved at a Chesterfield Borough Council meeting today - includes the creation of a cafe bar in the foyer of the showpiece venue on Holywell Street.

The Grade II-listed Winding Wheel, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, will be closed next July and September while the work is carried out.

Chesterfield Borough Council owns and manages the Winding Wheel.

A borough council report states: "The venue needs to sustain the existing level of business but importantly needs to develop new business in the future."

The planned project will see:

► The creation of a larger foyer by removing the current administration and box office area - which is no longer needed - and opening up one of the walls into the existing Glasses shop - which is currently empty after the owner retired;

► A new cafe bar installed in the foyer area serviced by the existing kitchen in the auditorium. This will bring in much-needed revenue for the cash-strapped borough council and make an estimated profit of £119,000 over six-and-a-half-years;

► The refurbishment of all the customer toilets on the ground floor;

► The installation of Wi-Fi throughout the area.

Councillor Steve Brunt, the borough council's cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: "It is fitting that in the 30th year since we took over the former cinema and turned it into the Winding Wheel that we are once again investing in improving the building.

"It is vital that the Winding Wheel constantly improves its offer for customers so that it can compete against other venues in the region - whether that is people coming to shows, those attending conferences or individuals or groups booking it for private functions.

“We know from customer feedback that there is a demand for improved bar and catering facilities in support of the Winding Wheel's varied events programme.

"Opening the cafe bar will enable us to do this as well as provide a space for conference visitors and shoppers to stop in for a drink and something to eat in a relaxing environment with Wi-Fi available.

"Thanks to the loyalty of our customers who have attended theatre shows over the past few years, we have the funding in place to repay their faith in us by improving facilities and ensuring the Winding Wheel remains a modern and attractive venue to visit."

The project will be funded using around £294,000 from the existing Theatres Restoration Fund reserve and £132,000 from the future proceeds of the Theatre Restoration Levy.

In the last year, the Winding Wheel held 149 performances attracting nearly 40,000 ticketed attendances.

The building was also used for events or private hires for 280 days during the year.