Confidence in Chesterfield’s recovery plans
Ten years ago the country was in the depths of a financial crisis and Chesterfield Borough Council responded with forward-thinking, throwing its weight behind the establishment of the town’s marketing campaign, Destination Chesterfield.
As the then vice chair of Destination Chesterfield and councillor, John Burrows, said: “We could have chosen to bunker down and ride out the recession, but we didn’t. We chose to be proactive and forge ahead with our marketing plans.”
And history, as they say, is repeating itself will the launch of the council’s ambitious Economic Recovery Plan which aims to support and rebuild the town’s economy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This cannot be the job of the council alone. It has to be a team effort and it is encouraging to see that the council is not alone in its efforts to support the high street’s recovery. As well the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme to support the hospitality sector, locally grown initiatives like the Twist & Save Card scheme, are also encouraging local people to use local shops and services and drive that all important footfall.
There are encouraging signs for the town’s recovery already. Chesterfield’s retail scene is fully re-open and we have even seen a number of new independent shops open since lockdown.
More encouragingly, during lockdown we saw developments move forward. Construction began on the Innovation Centre at Saltergate and Peak Resort took a step forward with the announcement that the UK’s first fully serviced national park gateway will be opened there.
This lays a very firm foundation for the growth of Chesterfield’s tourism and hospitality sector which will enable us to make the most of the increased popularity of staycations.
This summer, the country as a whole has truly seen the value of a staycation, and Chesterfield’s proximity to the Peak District is delivering immediate benefits to our economy. The opening of the gateway facility at Peak Resort will turbo charge the benefits of having the Peak District on our doorstep.
Out of crisis often comes opportunity and entrepreneurialism. Chesterfield has the raw ingredients to support this – from office and retail space and development land to funding and expert advice. Teamwork is key.
There is no denying that we all have a long road ahead of us in our recovery, but I am confident that Chesterfield will once again respond to the challenge, and the borough will continue to thrive.