Monday, 19 November 2012

Funding success for Chesterfield

There has been great news over the past few weeks with funding secured for businesses to develop and grow in Chesterfield.
£25m has been secured from the Regional Growth Fund for Sheffield City Region and Chesterfield has been fortunate to be part of this process. We know there will be just under £2m of the money for Chesterfield businesses, with potentially more for other companies in future, and this will be boosted to £10.1m as the businesses themselves put funding into the projects. The projects will secure 25 existing jobs and create an additional 205 jobs, all within Chesterfield borough. The majority will be related to new investment in manufacturing, both the development of new products and the introduction of new processes.
D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership also secured £5m from the Regional Growth Fund for the ‘Unlocking Investment Growth’ programme will means small and medium sized businesses can apply for grants of between £50,000 and £1m, which can be used to invest in individual schemes which help to create jobs, support business expansion and generate economic growth.
Chesterfield has also been successful in its bid for a £10k grant from the government for a Town Team Partner project. The bid, which was put forward by Destination Chesterfield and had the full support of the town’s MP, Toby Perkins and Chesterfield Borough Council was in response to the earlier unsuccessful bids for the Portas Pilot initiative.
This is excellent news for Chesterfield, the £10,000 funding will be added to £20,000 generated by the Chesterfield Champions scheme to launch ‘Incubation Street’, a new business start up scheme for Chesterfield. These are exactly the types of initiatives Destination Chesterfield and the Chesterfield Champions Scheme were set up for and we thank them all for their contributions which will go towards supporting the growth of the next generation of businesses in Chesterfield.
Details of how these funds can be accessed will be promoted on once full details are available.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Top of the class for retail

A national report revealed that Chesterfield is bucking the north-south divide with low shop vacancy rates. The latest figures from the Local Data Company (LDC) gives a detailed insight and analysis of 506 town centres and Chesterfield is third best of the largest centres in the country with just 8.7% of shops being empty, compared to the likes of Nottingham (30%), Stockport (28.4%) and Sheffield (26.1%).

Figures from the LDC report show an increase in shop vacancies across the East Midlands from 16.7% in 2011 to 17% in 2012. Chesterfield (8.7%) is the only town centre in the region that is in the top ten featuring amongst a predominant list of Southern based locations, including Central London, Cambridge and Kingston upon Thames.

The good news doesn’t end there on the retail front. A new Debenhams store will be opening shortly and there will be a further phase of development on the Ravenside Retail Park after two additional units have been approved and are due to be completed next summer.

Works are starting on the refurbishment of the Market Hall and the proposed Northern Gateway Projects and Walton Works are working their way through the planning process.

At Destination Chesterfield we want to continue to build on this success and will be once again running a marketing campaign on the run up to Christmas to attract people to shop and spend their leisure time in the town. Last year’s campaign was a great success generating up to an estimated £500,000 into the local economy.

Part of our inward investment campaigns will target the retailers and leisure providers we would like to see in the town, building on what is already here and we will also be launching a number of the initiatives that were included in our Portas Pilot bid thanks to the in-kind and financial support of the Chesterfield Champions.

These positive results can only be achieved by working together and this success is down to the hard work of the town centre businesses, agents, Chesterfield Borough Council and everyone one who works, shops and lives in the town centre.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Inspiring a generation?

I couldn’t write this month’s column without talking about sport and the Olympic Games. The Olympics have generated pride, passion and inspiration across the country and have created a new generation of role models as well as promoting Great Britain in a positive light across the world. Well done to Chesterfield’s Liam Pitchford for representing Team GB in the Table Tennis Team Event.

Following the success of the Olympics, we need to continue to develop the facilities and opportunities locally for people to participate in sport and I am proud to say that a number of Chesterfield Champions are involved in projects to achieve this.

Chesterfield Borough Council is working with Chesterfield College to help secure a major investment in Queen’s Park Sports Centre. The Council has agreed to move forward in principle to a dual use partnership with the College and further negotiations are taking place to bring this plan to fruition. The Council have also agreed to prepare and deliver a feasibility study to determine the best options for redeveloping the site.

Derbyshire Sport have recently launched the Derbyshire Institute of Sport with two hubs, one in Derby and one at Brampton Manor in Chesterfield. The aim of the institute is to provide high quality support to Derbyshire’s emerging talented sports performers, enabling them to achieve greater national and international success and in so doing, to enhance the reputation of Derbyshire. Further examples of sport initiatives in the area include Chesterfield Football Club and Derbyshire County Cricket Club working within in the local community and Chesterfield School Sports Partnership is promoting active lifestyles within schools.

The Olympics we’re not just about sport. UKTI, (the agency which promotes Britain to attract overseas business investment), together with Tourism agencies VisitBritain and VisitEngland have been using the opportunity of the Olympics to attract further investment and visitors to the UK. We will be continuing to work with our regional partners to market Chesterfield, promoting our inward investment opportunities and the town as a key gateway to the Peak District for visitors.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Destination Chesterfield a speciality

As Chair of Destination Chesterfield, I believe that it is important that the project and the board adapts to the needs and requirements of Chesterfield and its businesses and that we secure the funding to take the project beyond our initial two year delivery plan as the regeneration of our town continues.
Therefore, I am happy to confirm that we have secured further resources from the European Regional Development Fund and the Destination Chesterfield Board have agreed to a new 3 year plan that will take Destination Chesterfield and its activity through to December 2015. We will be working with the Chesterfield Champions and the wider businesses community to develop a new 3 year plan and I will have news about how you can become involved in a future blog.

To support this process I am pleased to welcome several new faces to the Destination Chesterfield board that will represent our priority sectors, Manufacturing, Professional Services and Retail, Leisure and Tourism. 

James Brand, Sales Director at United Cast Bars will take the lead for the manufacturing sector. James has worked at United Cast Bar since 2004, and has helped the company grow to become the world leader in continuous cast iron bar production. Operating on a global scale, the facility in Chesterfield produces the broadest range of products of anyone in their sector. 

Steve Smith, Relationship Director at Natwest Bank joins to represent the professional service sector and brings expertise on the funding available to businesses who plan to relocate or grow in Chesterfield.

Vittorio Risorto, Owner of Calabria Restaurant on Glumangate, will represent the retail, leisure and tourism industry and we also welcome James Mitchenson, Editor of the Derbyshire Times bringing further marketing and public relations expertise to the board.

Each of these directors will take a lead in their sector, engaging with local businesses and developing initiatives that support these businesses to grow but also create a stronger network of businesses.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Chesterfield’s Northern Gateway project developer decided

It is great news for the Town that Chesterfield Borough Council has selected Wilson Bowden Developments as its preferred partner for the proposed Northern Gateway project. The estimated £50m scheme will transform the Donut roundabout area, one of the main gateways of Chesterfield town centre, into a high quality shopping and leisure area.

The Council shortlisted two bidders to prepare detailed proposals – Wilson Bowden and Muse Developments. Both companies submitted their final tenders to the Council in April and the final decision was made by the Council’s Cabinet on the 8th May.

The plans, which will go forward for a full public consultation, include a major foodstore, retail outlets and restaurants, a cinema, 80 bed hotel, 85 homes, offices, and 700-800 replacement car parking spaces, plus an outdoor performance area.

Destination Chesterfield will be holding a special Meet the Developers Breakfast, an event which is exclusive to Chesterfield Champions, on the 14th June. This will be a first chance to see the plans and to ask the developers questions about their ambitions for the project.

Following this event, there will be an public ‘meet the development team’ event which will take place will take place in Unit 9 The Pavements Shopping Centre (formerly Thomsons travel agents) on Thurs 14th June - 12pm – 4pm , Friday 15th June – 10am – 4pm and Saturday 16th June – 10am – 4pm.

This is a chance to have ‘your say’ in respect of the development in the early stages of the design process- please make sure you take this opportunity.

Details about this and other regeneration schemes in Chesterfield can be found at and we post the latest news to our facebook page at and twitter at

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Inspired Investment

Destination Chesterfield recently held an event to update local businesses and media on progress of the regeneration schemes in Chesterfield. I thought I would share the highlights from this event as it is clear from the presentations that although times are tough in the commercial world, we are seeing real progress on several of the local schemes.

By way of example, Chesterfield Waterside has secured £2.4million from the Sheffield City Region’s Growing Places fund. This will allow the new canal link to be built on site which will in turn enable commencement of housing construction on the former Laver timber yard element of the project. A planning application for the canal works is to be lodged by the summer with work planned to start later in the year.

The Borough Council will shortly announce the details of their delivery partner for the Northern Gateway development, the objective of which is to enhance the Towns’ retail offer, and take Chesterfield into the top 100 shopping destinations in the UK. They will select their preferred partner in May, with a planning application being programmed for late autumn and if all goes to plan the development being completed in 2015.

Markham Vale, located at Junction 29a of the M1, continues to grow from strength to strength. The site was recently awarded Enterprise Zone status by Sheffield City Region and has seen continued investment including Squadron Medical’s new 40,000 square foot facility and the 100,000 square foot national distribution centre for Andrew Page Ltd, a national distributor of car spares/parts.

To keep up to date on the latest news in respect of the main development sites in Chesterfield please visit

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A town to grow your business

A recent report by Experian, the leading global information service, for the BBC has highlighted Chesterfield in the top 5 in the country as a location for firms with the potential to grow.

The Experian report identifies these by assessing the characteristics of businesses within each local area and determines their growth potential based upon factors such as business ownership, size and foreign presence. They tend to be young, small companies, with directors showing entrepreneurial appetite and experience in other recent successful business ventures, have a wider corporate network and are involved in some form of international activity.

This BBC Local Growth Research also highlights that Chesterfield is one of the highest ranked local authority districts for exporting in the East Midlands and also that the town has all the facilities required to increase such export activity.

This is great news for Chesterfield and part of the work of Destination Chesterfield is not only to attract new investment into the Town but to support the businesses that are here and to help them grow.

Our recent bid for Chesterfield to become a Portas Pilot Town, also concentrates on business creation and growth within the retail sector. We have tried to look to the future in our application, setting out how we will support our existing businesses and grow new businesses, ensuring our successful town centre continues to prosper and doesn’t see the downturn other high streets have across England. Recent surveys have placed our vacant units at around 5% one of the lowest in England alongside Bond Street and Kensington High street in London.  We will find out if our application has been successful in May and you can view our supporting video below.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Sporting Success

It’s going to be another good sporting year for Chesterfield.  Firstly congratulations to Chesterfield FC on making the final of the Johnsons Paint Trophy at Wembley in March, this is great news for the town and the clubs success continues to raise the profile of the Chesterfield.  We will all be cheering the team on the 25th March and hope to welcome the team home with the trophy. 

Looking ahead to the 29th June and the Olympic Torch will visit the town and later in the year we should hear if our Olympic hopefuls make their in to their respective teams, Good luck to Liam Pitchford and Hannah Lawrence.  We will be running a number of Olympic themed events for the Chesterfield Champions and will be able to tell you more about these soon.

We also have the Derbyshire County Cricket Club Festival of Cricket returning to Queens Park from the 15th – 22nd July including two fixtures against Yorkshire.  These events bring first class cricket to one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the county and we look forward to welcoming Derbyshire to Chesterfield again over the summer.

For the latest information on sporting and other events in the town visit our website , become a fan on facebook at or follow us on twitter at