There is no doubt that 2017 will be a tumultuous year politically, with Brexit being top of the agenda. No-one knows what is around the corner and how our break from the European Union will look or indeed affect us – internationally, nationally and locally.
Chesterfield has benefitted from much EU funding over the years, recent examples include assisting major developments like Markham Vale and Chesterfield Waterside to finally get off the ground. It is important that we keep the momentum of the town’s major new developments going in 2017 and beyond.
We have the opportunity to enhance Chesterfield’s position on the international commercial map, however this must be a collective effort, by everyone including councillors, politicians, businesses and, most importantly, the community. Everyone has a role to play in promoting Chesterfield and attracting investors. Whether holidaying at home or abroad tell people how great our town is.
When you live and work in the same town it’s all too easy to forget about the positives. There’s a saying ‘when you can’t see the wood for the trees,’ and I think many of us are guilty of this. When you visit the town centre take time to see the variety of shops that we have, our market, the market hall and the historic Shambles shopping area. When compared to other towns and cities, Chesterfield has excellent shop occupancy rates, so much so that the town centre was identified as an ideal place for retail investors in a recent national property report.
Ask yourself this-If we, the people who live and work here, run our town down on social media and in conversations, will investors want to come to Chesterfield, spend their money and create more jobs and opportunity?
Look at what has been achieved in 2016 alone – Chesterfield’s new University of Derby campus was unveiled at St Helena’s, work has started on Chesterfield Waterside, plans for Northern Gateway were approved, Great Bear announced it was to build a second distribution unit at Markham Vale creating 800 jobs, and it was revealed that the town’s railway station will be a spur on the HS2 route.
Let’s make a collective New Year’s resolution to be positive about our town and celebrate everything that we have achieved and what 2017 will bring. I am particularly excited by the Chesterfield Waterside, Peak Resort, Northern Gateway and Elder Way developments and, of course, the canal restoration, all of which will make headway in 2017. There is so much potential in our town. Together we can make Chesterfield great.