Thursday, 11 July 2013

Chink of light at the end of the tunnel

Second only to our world-famous crooked spire, Chesterfield’s market is also a well-known and loved feature of the town and is an important part of our heritage. We not only have one of the biggest open-air markets in the country, but we will soon have a spectacular brand new indoor market.

The end is in sight for the £4 million renovation of our Market Hall. In October the awning will be lifted off the new glass roof, and the refurbished market hall will be unveiled and opened, once again, for business.

Chesterfield Champions were privileged to have a recent behind the scenes tour mid renovation and, without exception, everyone felt excited and positive about what this major investment means for our town and economy.  Aside from what you’d expect in a market, there will be office space and, more importantly, incubation studios specifically for new and fledgling businesses. This must make Chesterfield market not only a great place to shop but also a rich vein of business development.

Externally, the Market Hall will add yet another stunning piece of architecture to our town. All too often a visit into Chesterfield town centre involves a tunnel-vision approach. However look above the shop fronts and you will see some historic and grand buildings that, when put together, make us a very attractive town and tourist destination.  It can come as no surprise that we were voted as the Coach Friendly Town or City of the Year at the annual Coach Tourism Awards earlier this year.

Now we just need to sort out the main gateways to Chesterfield town centre to ensure they don’t let down our Town, which is so full of character. I am confident that such improvements will happen sooner rather than later as there are plans to transform the Donut roundabout area in an estimated £50 million development scheme into a high quality shopping and leisure area, and to improve the ‘Donkin’ roundabout at the entrance to theTown.

Similarly there is strong interest for Chesterfield Waterside on both the housing and commercial elements of the scheme and it is hoped that initial works will start towards the end of the year.

I for one see a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. Construction projects across the country, indeed the world, have slowed in recent years however the economy is picking up and nowhere is this more clear than Chesterfield.

Markham Vale for one continues to attract investment. Already more than 200 jobs have been created on site in the past couple of years and now Ready Egg is building a new factory which will create 50 Jobs. I am confident we will hear more success stories like this going forward as investors recognise the potential in Chesterfield and commit money and resources.

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