Why Chesterfield town centre is poised to enjoy a boost
Chesterfield businesses and attractions will enjoy a boost when landmark town buildings are converted into housing, according to council chiefs and business figures.
In the last month, Chesterfield Borough Council has approved plans to convert the town's former magistrates' court into 32 apartments.
The Grade II-listed building, which is situated between Rose Hill and West Bars, has stood empty for almost 10 years and become a magnet for crime.
In addition, the authority has given the go-ahead for 10 apartments to be created on the first and second floors of the old Post Office building on Market Place - and North East Derbyshire District Council's former headquarters on Saltergate will be demolished to make way for 64 retirement homes.
Meanwhile, work is underway to transform the currently vacant first and second floors of 1-3 Knifesmithgate into 10 apartments.
Councillor Steve Brunt, the council's cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: "High streets and town centres are changing across the country due to the impact of the internet, which has seen the closure of many household retail names.
"As town centres evolve in the future we will see a different mix of uses to the past. We are already beginning to see this in Chesterfield where there has been a switch to more leisure use within the retail areas of the town centre.
"Alongside this Chesterfield is also seeing the growth of town centre housing and this is something we are keen to support through our planning policies and our town centre masterplan.
"Having housing in the town centre ensures that the heart of town remains a lively place. It brings footfall to the shops and businesses in the town which helps to secure the future of those businesses that are surviving and thriving despite the impact of the internet.
"It also enables town centres to become more of a day and night location, with the extra people in the town centre helping to support restaurants, theatres, cinemas and other leisure activities in the evenings. This is where developments like the Northern Gateway are important. The redevelopment of the former Co-op store into restaurants is designed to fit with the housing growth we are seeing now.
"The trade for developments like that will come, in part, from the housing developments we are seeing at sites like the former court building, the old Post Office and the former NHS and North East Derbyshire District Council sites off Saltergate. In the future this will be added to by the housing planned on the Waterside site.
"By having housing as part of the mix of town centre uses Chesterfield will remain an important town centre in the region, with the economic benefits and jobs that creates."
Dom Stevens, manager of the Destination Chesterfield marketing group, added: "It is great to see the redevelopment of significant buildings in Chesterfield town centre into residential accommodation.
"UK shopping habits have changed and Chesterfield is responding well to this in the town centre masterplan by recognising that increased residential living will create that all important footfall and buzz.
"The additional accommodation planned for Waterside and the hotel and B&B developments will also increase footfall further, making Chesterfield a very desirable place to live, work and do business."
Luxury accommodation in town centre
The owners of award-winning Stephensons Tea and Coffee House in Chesterfield have expanded their portfolio to include three new luxury bed and breakfast suites.
Stephenson's Bed and Breakfast celebrated its official opening with the cutting of a ribbon by Councillor Stuart Brittain, the Mayor of Chesterfield, and a networking event with Chesterfield Champions.
Situated in the centre of Chesterfield, the accommodation offers high-quality, large rooms - with one boasting amazing views of the Crooked Spire.
Breakfast is served at the newly-refurbished Stephensons Tea and Coffee House, which is on the first floor of the same building.
Owners Claire and Sam Wood, a mum and son team, are excited for their new business venture.
Claire said: "We are delighted to have opened our luxury, town centre accommodation and are looking forward to welcoming guests.
"It's great to be able to build on the success of Stephensons Tea and Coffee House, which has won café of the year twice in the Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards and now enjoys brand new premises just a floor below the original café.
"Whether visiting Chesterfield for business or pleasure, exploring the Peak District or visiting one of our many local attractions, Stephenson's Bed and Breakfast is perfect for your stay."