Sunday, 31 January 2016

Lots to celebrate already in 2016

As we enter February we are reminded that the Christmas period is well and truly over; diets have gone out of the window and many of us have turned our backs on our well-intended New Year resolutions. All in all it’s a pretty dreary month, and this prompted me to dig a little deeper and find some positives; I really didn’t have to look very far - specifically to the brand new £12m Queens Park Sports Centre.

I was privileged to see the new Queens Park Sport Centre at a recent Chesterfield Champions breakfast event, 24 hours before it was officially opened by the Coronation Street celebrity Kym Marsh. Like her, I was extremely impressed with the outstanding facilities, it truly is a gem in Chesterfield’s crown.

The breakfast event started at 7:30am and the centre was already buzzing with people using the new facilities and queuing to sign up for membership. What an amazing community resource.-it was fantastic to witness the hard work of the many people who have made the new Queens Park Sports Centre happen. A big ‘thank you and well done’ to all those involved!

At the breakfast even the hot topic on everyone’s lips was, of course, the proposed devolution involving Local Councils; with the subject being debated nationally, lots of questions were asked about what it means for Chesterfield. I for one see devolution as a positive, there is already a deal from Sheffield City Region on the table for Chesterfield which will bring us a share of £900m funding for local projects, including infrastructure and regeneration.

Devolution means, ultimately, that we can have more control over things that we want for our Town at a local level rather than Whitehall making the decisions for us. Devolution will impact all our lives and I urge you to have your say now. Get involved and have your voice heard before any decision is made that will affect all our futures long-term. You can find more information about this issue on the Destination Chesterfield website.

Devolution is something that will no doubt be a key topic at our annual Celebrate Chesterfield event taking place at the Winding Wheel in March. For those of you that don’t know, Celebrate Chesterfield is the hottest ticket in town and each year it’s getting even bigger and better.

I enjoy this event because it’s a great opportunity to look back and see how far we have come since the creation of Destination Chesterfield in 2011. At last year’s event we announced that £1bn of regeneration was taking place in the Borough-who knows what good news this year’s Celebrate will bring? What I do know is that it’s going to be good!
Great things are happening in our small town of which we should all be proud. Celebrate Chesterfield is the opportunity for us all to stand back, take stock and give ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back for what we have collectively achieved as a Town, and to look forward to the future with confidence.

You too can share in the success of Chesterfield. The event is free to attend; simply register at

Friday, 1 January 2016

Have your say in 2016

Happy New Year to all readers! Well it’s the New Year but certainly not a new start for Chesterfield. Many of the Town’s developments are underway and will be making significant progression in 2016, so we have so much to look forward to and we have hit the ground running.

We go into 2016 with a confident buzz about the town Big changes are afoot, not only for Chesterfield but for Sheffield City Region which the town is a part of.

Devolution is the hot topic on everyone’s mind and from my own perspective it would greatly benefit Chesterfield and the region because it will give the Town a seat at a more influential ‘local’ table, not to mention more control over our own financial affairs.

It could also help bring potential funding to the area further boosting our ambitious plans for growth and development in the area over the next 10 years. Ultimately, devolution will allow us to have more money and decision-making powers as well as greater control over skills and transport improvement and job creation as well as increase the number of new businesses.

Local control of our ambitions and plans is very important, rather being made in London, where they are now. London is a very different economy to ours – just think of house prices, salaries and transport, and therefore needs to be treated differently. .

I would urge all local residents and businesses to take part in the consultation. Chesterfield’s position within Sheffield City Region means we do a lot of business with neighbouring towns and cities and it is important that we have control of the direction of our future which will affect young people and the jobs that are available to them when they leave school.

2016 will see the opening of the new University of Derby Campus in Chesterfield, bringing more opportunity to young people in an around the town, specifically in nursing, Business, Computing, Law, and Engineering. The latter, I feel, is s exciting for Chesterfield as it is a field the town has developed a specialism. This is rightly so when you consider that one of the godfathers of engineering and inventor of The Rocket, George Stephenson, made Chesterfield his home.

The coincidence that Chesterfield is involved in a 21st Century ‘rocket’ can’t be overlooked. Bloodhound is the British-built car that will be attempting the world land speed record in October 2016 and Chesterfield-based industrial weighing specialists Weightron Bilanciai Ltd has supplied the weighing systems that have been used throughout the build of the project.

So, when you see Bloodhound – or more likely the trail of vapour it will leave in its wake travelling at 1000mp - on the flats of South Africa later this year, be proud in the knowledge it carries a little bit of Chesterfield and is helping spread our town’s reputation for quality engineering and manufacturing all over the world.

With all that and more, what a great year we have ahead of us! I hope you will join me in celebrating and recognising our achievements on 16th March at Celebrate Chesterfield