Six months after it closed, mystery surrounds future of Chesterfield's former Victoria Centre

The former Victoria Centre.
The former Victoria Centre.

Mystery still surrounds the future of the former Victoria Centre in Chesterfield - six months after it closed.

The Knifesmithgate building - which used to house shops, a ballroom, a cinema and a billiard hall - has stood empty since the beginning of March.

London-based Metropolitan Properties Company (FGC) Ltd owns the prominent site.

It has declined to tell the Derbyshire Times why the centre shut and what will happen to the building.

Metropolitan Properties Company (FGC) Ltd is owned by billionaire property investor Benzion Schalom Eliezer Freshwater, who also holds roles at almost 300 other firms.

The firm's latest accounts show it had a turnover of £5million in 2015.

The accounts state: "The company generally holds its properties for the long term in order to generate rental income and capital appreciation although in the right circumstances any property could be available for sale."

Four businesses which occupied the Victoria Centre - the Victoria Café, Krazy Price, Divan Man and the Victoria Bakery - had to move to new locations nearby earlier this year.

According to Roy Knowles, the owner of the Victoria Café, the Victoria Centre opened in the 1920s and was a ballroom, cinema, billiard hall, bingo hall, supermarket and shops over the years.

The ballroom played host to well-known bands including Slade, the Who, the Kinks and Bill Haley and His Comets - and was a place where many hundreds of couples met and fell in love.

When the centre closed, Mr Knowles said: "A lot of my customers are very sad to lose this historic part of Chesterfield."

According to an online poll conducted by the Derbyshire Times, 70 per cent of respondents were sad to lose the Victoria Centre.