Saturday, May 21, 2022

Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield plans set to be considered

A multi-million pound project to revitalise Chesterfield town centre – helping the borough thrive for generations to come – is set to be considered by Chesterfield Borough Council.

The £10.28m Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield scheme aims to transform the look, feel and flow of the town centre – creating a contemporary market town that has better connections between key public spaces, and a more attractive physical environment.

It includes plans for significant improvements to Chesterfield’s historic market grounds, along with proposals that will help maximise the potential of the iconic Crooked Spire as a key attraction for visitors, while also re-imagining town centre spaces for a range of flexible uses including markets, festivals, events, cultural celebrations and community gatherings.

Together with the £17m refurbishment of Stephenson Memorial Hall – which received planning permission in March 2022 – the project is being brought forward thanks to almost £20m which the council secured from the Government’s levelling up fund at the end of last year.

The latest designs for the scheme will be considered by the council’s Cabinet on 17 May and, if approved, the proposals will be subject to a consultation period running from 24 May to 8 July 2022 before a final Master Plan is developed.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “Chesterfield has been a flourishing market town for hundreds of years, but like places everywhere, we must address the challenges that the rise in online shopping presents to the future sustainability of our town centre.

“Our town has so much to offer, and we want to harness and build on this to create a town centre that remains vibrant, and relevant in today’s world.

“This project, together with the scheme to refurbish our historic Pomegranate Theatre and Chesterfield Museum, will transform the experience for those visiting the town centre, and help sustain the economic future for the wider borough.”

Levelling up funding will be used to extend the council’s planned regeneration of the market grounds, with extra investment now centred on key public spaces and the connections between them – including Burlington Street, Corporation Street, Rykneld Square, Spire Walk, Market Square and New Square.

It is proposed that new paving, seating, lighting, and street furniture will combine with more greenery, to create better-looking and better-connected spaces which people can enjoy and socialise in.

The Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield project will complement work to regenerate the Northern Gateway and – at the other side of town – will connect with plans to transform the area around Chesterfield Station.

Key areas of focus are:

  • Corporation Street – a tree-lined boulevard with improved paving and lighting will transform this key gateway to the town centre and provide a welcoming environment for visitors to the refurbished theatre and museum.
  • Spire Walk – the council will work in partnership with the Church of St Mary and All Saints to create a more welcoming and attractive space in which to enjoy the iconic Crooked Spire.
  • Rykneld Square – the proposals seek to make better use of this open public space – providing a better connection with the Crooked Spire, improving the feel and flow of this area.
  • Burlington Street – proposed upgrades to paving, planting and lighting will create a more attractive main route – better connecting the Market Place and High Street through to Rykneld Square and Spire Walk.
  • New Square and Market Place – a multi-million pound investment will revitalise Chesterfield’s historic market. Plans will create a modern, vibrant town centre experience with additional space alongside traditional markets to host outdoor events and speciality markets. The council is working with local traders to develop a revised market stall and layout design for the main market, and to consider how New Square could be used to complement the town centre offer in future.
  • Packers Row – under existing plans, in place before the successful bid for levelling up funding, this area will also undergo improvement, following the completion of similar public realm works at the nearby Elder Way. Plans include improved lighting and paving, with an overhead light canopy to add character. Work here is set to start in spring 2022.

Councillor Sarvent added: “We have been successful in pulling in millions of pounds of extra funding into our borough over the last 18 months, which is fantastic news for local people. It will complement the significant investments that we and our partners are already making and puts Chesterfield town centre in a strong position for the future.

“We want Chesterfield to continue to be the go-to place and we’re confident that, taken together, the widespread improvements will achieve this by creating a contemporary market town that builds on our proud history and heritage.”

The work will be carried out in phases from spring 2022 and is due for completion in 2025.

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