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Blog: Chesterfield Town Centre – why we should be optimistic about the future

Just as bygone Christmases are remembered as snowier, and summers more sunny, so anyone who can remember Chesterfield market from years ago will tell you it was a much busier, bustling place. I have had many constituents contact me over the last few years to lament the reduction in the size of the market and fewer shoppers visiting our town centre. Whilst there is an element of truth about it, we still have much to be proud of.

Town centres and markets across the country have all experienced a decline, over many years and for many reasons, including because of our economy going in to recession and consumers shopping habits changing dramatically; also the growth of online shopping, development of out-of-town retail parks, diversification of product availability in supermarkets, increasing number of budget retailers, people having less disposable income and various other factors.

To stop the decline and start to grow again, our town centres are going to have to fundamentally change and adapt to the new retail landscape and offer more than just shopping to attract people in. This is something city centres have been doing for a number of years with reconfigured layouts and new attractions, such as urban beaches, big wheels, food festivals etc and is something that our towns need to replicate on a smaller scale.

Chesterfield has been one of the more resilient town centres in the East Midlands and has a much lower shop vacancy rate when compared to nearby towns such as Mansfield and Ashfield. One of the reasons for Chesterfield’s resilience, and why we should remain optimistic about the future of our market and shopping centre, is the Labour-run Borough Council’s willingness to invest during tough economic times and to innovate and adapt to the modern retail climate.

Following on from the recent £4m refurbishment of the Market Hall, which has provided improved retail spaces together with modern business units, the Council has been working with local businesses and stakeholders to develop a ‘Town Centre Masterplan’ together with an event-driven market place. I have been impressed by the recent ‘Artisan Markets’ and ‘Medieval Market’ that have been held and are bringing people in from miles around.

The Council’s ‘Masterplan’ is being finalised and will focus on modernising the layout of the market so that it is more accessible, has improved sightlines, better cover for bad weather and has additional space for other attractions and events.

With the right planning and will to improve, we can make the most of our beautiful town and its advantageous location.

Toby at the recent 'Medieval Market'

Toby at the recent ‘Medieval Market’

Chesterfield is one of the gateway towns to the Peak District and the improvements being made in our town centre will hopefully increase tourism and provide a boost for our hotels, guest houses, cafes, pubs and shops. And with the planned £400m Peak Resorts development being created near Chesterfield, we will see more jobs being created and more opportunities to increase visitor footfall in our town.

There is a lot of work to be done, but we should feel optimistic about the future for our market and town centre businesses.

Please click here to read more about about the Council’s ‘Masterplan’:

http://www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk/news/grassroots/chesterfield-borough-council-agrees-masterplan-for-future-development-of-town-centre-1-7374517

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

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