Champion of the Week
Meet our Champion of the Week: Jillian Mitchell, Director at Lomas and Mitchell Architects
My name is Jillian Mitchell and I am a Director at Lomas and Mitchell Architects; we are an award-winning, design-led Practice and work in bespoke offices we designed for clients at Markham Vale. We specialise in private residential and commercial projects; whether that is a home which is a great place to live or a business space which is a great place to work, we believe in the transformational power of good architecture.
I have been working in the region for over 30 years, and have recently merged with a fellow Chartered Architect, Richard Lomas, to create a practice which focuses on low-energy, healthy and beautiful buildings.
When my husband Andy and I moved to Chesterfield, we fell in love with the town – the market place has some amazing architecture and such a rich history. Sitting on the edge of the Peak District, and close to Sheffield, Nottingham and Derby, we are spoilt with easy access to beautiful landscape and vibrant city centres… but it’s always great to come back to Chesterfield.
How does working in Chesterfield differ from where you’ve worked before?
I studied in a large city, then worked in London for a couple of years, before moving north to work in Sheffield. London made me realise that I’m not a city girl; I was born in a small town at the seaside, and went to school in larger town, nearby.
Although I’m nowhere near the sea now, Chesterfield has that same sense of scale that I grew up with, and similar proximity to larger towns or cities when I need a change of pace. It was easy for me to feel lost in a big city environment, whereas in Chesterfield, I feel very much at home.
What are the main benefits of running a business in the Chesterfield area?
There is such a variety of business activity in and around Chesterfield. Our location enables us to easily access clients around the region and, just as importantly, to welcome them to our offices. We aren’t paying city-centre rates, and here at Markham Vale, we have free parking, which all helps. We can easily nip into Chesterfield for meetings or events, and don’t have to worry about getting stuck in rush-hour traffic.
How would you describe Chesterfield to a potential visitor?
When people ask me where I live, they immediately say ‘that’s the place with the crooked spire, isn’t it?’, so potential visitors probably already know something about Chesterfield before they visit. What they might not expect is the attractive market place and raft of independent shops, and what they always get is a friendly service.
What can we change or develop further within Chesterfield’s town centre to help it thrive?
Improving the night-time offer in the town centre – opening up the market square to evening events – would be great for the town. Things are improving with new and better restaurants opening, and so enhancing the public realm further would be great to see.
What advice would you give to someone establishing a business in Chesterfield?
Networking would be the first thing to do – getting out and about and meeting other business owners gives a great sense of context, and you get to find out what opportunities are available in the area really quickly.
What excites you most about the future of Chesterfield?
We have recently become involved with an emerging Property and Construction Forum (through Destination Chesterfield), and I’m really excited to see how this develops. So much is already being developed in and around the town, and it will be good to explore opportunities to get involved with improving the quality of future developments.