Revitalising the heart of Chesterfield

Council secures £20m Government funding to further boost Chesterfield town centre and enhance the town’s cultural offer

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.

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People encouraged to have their say on the future of Chesterfield Market

Market traders, town centre retailers, residents and visitors are being encouraged to have their say on ambitious plans to revitalise Chesterfield Market by taking part in a public consultation which launches today (Monday 2 August).

Chesterfield Borough Council is seeking people’s views on plans to create a vibrant open-air shopping experience with new event space, seating, and landscaping – to help shape the council’s final proposals for Chesterfield Market.

The draft Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield Vision Master Plan aims to ensure the market area remains a modern shopping destination, despite the challenges posed by a rise in online shopping and, more recently, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centre and visitor economy, said: “We recognise the need to invest now to make sure Chesterfield town centre remains modern, vibrant, and relevant – and our market is a key part of that.

“As the heart and soul of our town centre, we must do all we can to make sure that Chesterfield Market continues to prosper in today’s world, as a destination of choice for traders, residents, and visitors.

“These ambitious plans lay down a new vision for Chesterfield Market and are based on what market traders, town centre retailers and residents told us they wanted to see when we asked for initial feedback on the project.

“We are now encouraging even more people to have their say on the plans in a public consultation, which runs for six weeks.”

The draft Master Plan proposals were approved by the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 20 July and will be out for public consultation from today through 12 September 2021, with initial work set to begin on site early 2022.

Key proposals include:

  • The re-siting of market stalls currently located in New Square and on Low Pavement into a single market ground of 100 stalls in Market Square – creating a more defined and vibrant market area. The area will also include a flexible events space.
  • The re-modelling of New Square as a flexible events space – able to hold large-scale events, and accommodate temporary installations and active edges linked to local bars and restaurants
  • Upgrades to the paving to improve the quality while also making it more accessible for people dependent on wheelchairs, pushchairs, or mobility aids
  • The introduction of new seating areas and attractive landscaping to create spaces where people want to sit and chat whilst taking in what the town has to offer
  • The planting of more trees to increase biodiversity and improve the street scene
  • Brighter and more vibrant stall coverings and flexible stalls supplied with water, better lighting, and digital connectivity

The council’s plans have also been developed with due regard for the Conservation Area including giving greater prominence to the Market Hall and the town pump, which is currently obscured, by opening-up the public space in these areas.

Councillor Sarvent added: “We all treasure Chesterfield’s historic market and I know many people will have views on how they want to it to look and feel in the future, so I would encourage as many people as possible to take a look at the plans and tell us what they think. Their views will be used to shape the final proposals.”

Due to the ongoing uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic, this second phase of consultation will be carried out via a virtual exhibition – available to view at https://market-consultation.chesterfield.gov.uk/

Exhibition documents will be available to view at Chesterfield Market Hall and interested parties can also obtain paper copies of the questionnaire from the council’s Customer Services Centre, just off New Square.

Respondents to the public consultation will be entered into a prize draw to win £50 worth of Love2Shop vouchers.

The council has already secured £1.15m funding through the Derbyshire Business Rates Pilot and D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership. Further funding for later phases is being sought as part of a bid that the council has recently submitted to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Terms and conditions for the prize draw can be found at www.chesterfield.gov.uk/terms-and-conditions

Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield

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