Chesterfield Borough Council has secured £19.98m of Government funding through a successful bid to the national Levelling Up Fund. The funding was confirmed as part of yesterday’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review.
£11.4m will be allocated towards the costs of a £15.6m project to remodel and refurbish Chesterfield’s ‘striking’ Stephenson Memorial Hall extending the Pomegranate Theatre, reconfiguring and modernising Chesterfield museum, and introducing new gallery space, a café bar, education, and community facilities.
The remaining £8.5m of funding will be used to further regenerate Chesterfield’s historic town centre, with investment centred on four key public spaces and the connections between them – Corporation Street, Rykneld Square, Market Square and New Square.
Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Chesterfield. The funding that we have secured from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund will complement the significant investments the council and its partners are already making in Chesterfield town centre and will ensure that we can continue to create a better future for our market traders, retailers, residents, and businesses.
“These investments coupled with the council’s business support activities, which include our Digital High Street Project, new business start-up programme, and Love Chesterfield campaign, also complement the ground-breaking Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield project, which aims to sustain the future vitality and viability of Chesterfield town centre.
“We want Chesterfield to be a go-to place for visitors. The projects that will be enabled through the Levelling Up funding will go a long way to helping us achieve this ambition by enhancing our cultural offer and creating new experiences in and around the town’s most iconic building – the Crooked Spire (Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints) – and our historic market grounds.
“We are an ambitious council, committed to making Chesterfield a thriving borough and improving the quality of life of local people. We have achieved part one, which is to secure Government funding, the next part is to deliver these Levelling Up projects at pace and with the desired impact for the future prosperity of our town and borough.”
Under the council’s plans, the four key public spaces that make up Chesterfield town centre will be re-imagined to accommodate a range of flexible uses including markets, festivals, events, cultural celebrations, and community gatherings. This will be achieved through enhancements to the current public realm, comprising new seating to encourage people to dwell and socialise, new landscaping, new lighting, and digital connectivity for all.
At the Stephenson Memorial Hall, the council will be looking to create a unique facility, using the very latest technology to fuse all forms of performing and visual arts whilst also showcasing and celebrating Chesterfield’s heritage. The aim is to ensure that all our residents can experience the arts and culture in much improved facilities, which we hope will also attract many new visitors to Chesterfield’s economy.
Chesterfield Borough Council made its funding submission to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund in June 2021, but it has not stood still with a planning application submitted last week for the works of refurbishment planned for Stephenson Memorial Hall.