Our vision for Chesterfield and the region

By Elizabeth Fagan CBE (pictured), Chair of Chamber-partnered D2N2 LEP

D2N2’s purpose is to support, encourage, and boost the local economy. Our vision for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire is of a more prosperous, better connected, increasingly resilient, and highly competitive economy that works for everyone. As we begin to shape the vision

for our region’s future, we must be ambitious and realise the promising opportunities that will emerge from this uncertain period. As the largest town in Derbyshire

and the gateway to the Peak District, Chesterfield is at the forefront of that ambition and in a great position to embrace every opportunity. Our region has been the

vanguard of scientific and industrial innovation for more than 200 years. Chesterfield’s rich heritage of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit features George Stephenson, not to mention the wool, leather, and mining industries of the 19th Century, and has led the way in many of those fields. This legacy will help shape not

only Chesterfield’s future, but the future of the Midlands and the whole of the UK. We’ll need that spirit to take advantage of steps forward in science and technology, helping us improve connectivity and productivity, and shape the places we live. As we look to the next decade,

we will increasingly recognise the importance of our ‘place’ - Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire, home to 2.2

million residents with a vibrant blend of cities, towns, and rural areas which collectively form one of the fastest-growing economies in the UK. But we are also the heart of England. The heart of transport, of knowledge, of innovation, science, and culture and so much more. Chesterfield’s place in the heart of England is critical to the UK’s future growth plans. Seven million people live within

an hour of the town and an impressive pool of talent stands ready to support the economy. The M1 motorway is on Chesterfield’s doorstep, regular and direct trains operate from the station, four major airports are no more than 90 minutes away, and travel to central London is less than two hours.

‘D2N2 is investing over £6m around the station area to provide greater connectivity between the proposed HS2 station and Chesterfield town centre’

With connectivity like this, we

can lay claim to being at the heart of England, our place is our greatest asset. HS2 will enhance that and will create further opportunities for the town. In addition to building on our already excellent logistics via

improved transport infrastructure, rail connectivity, and journey times, HS2 will create new jobs and improve the skills of our working- age population. The once in a generation project

will also result in the building of new housing and attracting business investment. To make the most of this opportunity, D2N2 is investing over £6m around the station area to provide greater connectivity between the proposed HS2 station and Chesterfield town centre. Speaking of Chesterfield town

centre, with a range of partners we are also investing £650,000 worth of funding into the redevelopment of Chesterfield’s marketplace and the public realm within the town centre, aimed at further encouraging inward investment. Elsewhere, private and public

investment is supporting the delivery of the Northern Gateway and planned enterprise centre. In addition, and with an eye on

increasing tourism, Chesterfield Borough Council has been proactive in supporting the development of the Peak Resort proposals. D2N2 is investing in its residents, its businesses, and the future. However, not all our investments

Chesterfield's historic marketplace

are bricks and mortar. In January, the North Derbyshire Careers Hub was launched in Chesterfield to improve aspiration among young people. The hub, in collaboration with the Careers & Enterprise Company,

brings together local schools and businesses for the benefit of young people, transforming careers education for the next generation. Together, initiatives like the

Careers Hub aspire to offer every person the opportunity to unlock their potential, regardless of background, in a changing world of employment. We need to ensure Chesterfield

residents have the expertise, knowledge and skills to make the most of this opportunity and others that the future will bring. As we collectively move towards

the goal of a carbon-free tomorrow, our region has the opportunity to take a leadership role. The 2008 Climate Change Act

made Britain the first country in the world to set legally binding carbon budgets, aiming to cut UK emissions by 34% by 2020, and at least 80% by 2050, through investments in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. It’s our mission to make our

region carbon-free and we will work with business, local authorities, education providers and the third sector to help accomplish it alongside remaining alive to the opportunities a carbon- free environment offers our region: technologically, logistically, and industrially. Collectively, we must take every opportunity available to us, investing in the right things for the benefit of our region and its people.

business network April 2020 47

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