Staveley Town Deal 2023 Year in Review

Staveley Town Deal 2023 Year in Review

In January 2020 we held the first Staveley Town Deal Board and I had the honour of being elected as Chair of that Board responsible for the governance and oversight of the bidding process and subsequent delivery of the Towns Fund money allocated to us. As we come to the end of 2023 it is an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved over the past couple of years, and to look forward to what is to come in 2024.

We were lucky enough to be granted in excess of the initial £25m as we had put forward 11 strong cases for projects within the greater Staveley area. We have delivered five ‘accelerator’ projects including juniors pitch drainage at Staveley Miners Welfare Football Club (SWMFC), town centre CCTV enhancement, improvements to King George V Park, design and enabling works for the DRIIVe project and the new performance canopy at Springwell Community College.

For the projects themselves we have seen good progress but sometimes frustratingly they are hampered by uncontrollable events such as land acquisition and of course cost inflation.

Hartington Industrial Park has particularly suffered from the delay in land release by third parties, but it is now nearing completing this such that access to the site will be secured as will the route of the new mains incoming power supply.

Chesterfield Canal Trust continue to be a shining example of project management and are well on the way to commencing work on site. You may also have seen in the media that they have secured a large donation of the clay needed to construct the puddle bank on the eastern side of the proposed new route. The re-routing of utility services is bringing some challenges, but they are confident these can be resolved.

Staveley Waterside which covers the onward development of the canal basin has passed planning approval and has gone out for procurement tenders in November.

Staveley Waterside

The new DRIIVe rail innovation centre at Barrow Hill is a scheme of national significance and went in for planning consent in November. They have attracted a good deal of interest from contractors to develop this important project.

The Barrow Hill Memorial Hall has such historical importance it is wonderful to see the plans for resurrecting this building. The project is managed by a community trust, and they have employed a new project manager to oversee the next stages of the renovation. Unfortunately, this building has suffered from several instances of vandalism recently, but with a member of Derbyshire Constabulary on the Town Deal Board, we are hopeful that raising awareness in the local community will help in this respect. Once complete the new facility will provide a bar and café, health facilities, function room, and sports hall. It will provide a much-needed centre for the community to come together.

Staying in Barrow Hill you may recall the announcement in October that the Barrow Hill line would be given the go ahead. It is important to note that this is subject to the scheme going through a government business case review, but we are pleased that there is every chance this line and the associated railway station will now come forward. As a Board we have allocated funding to enhance the new station, but meanwhile are pressing on with the delivery of the surrounding works such as pedestrian crossings, lighting, Wi-Fi and bus information systems. We await the outcome of the business case reviews.

A major concern of the Board is how the people of Staveley are going to access the new jobs which are being created. Even despite the success of the industrial investment in Markham Vale there is still no suitable bus service from Staveley.  The Wheels to Work scheme proposes to help with this by introducing a number of travel related options to enhance mobility, and the first e-bikes and e-mopeds have now been made available to users.

The Construction Skills hub is an exciting initiative where the training will take place alongside a live building site.  This has been designed to be a mobile scheme, and the first site has been established at the new Devonshire Group development at Mastin Moor. It is hoped in future that the installation will then be moved to new sites along the proposed relief route from Staveley to Chesterfield.

Staveley Miners Welfare Football Club continue to show massive commitment to the Staveley Town Deal, having obtained planning permission for their new training academy for BTEC sports skills development. Construction tenders came in higher than expected and this has led to a revised plan to refurbish an existing building to welcome the first cohort of students in addition to new buildings.

These inflationary pressures in the construction sector have also influenced what will be possible to deliver on the Staveley 21 - a significant regeneration and revitalisation project in Staveley town centre. It is based around the masterplan developed in 2021 and includes improvements to the marketplace, a new lighting scheme, additional tree planting, a better connections to the canal and enhancement to the public realm. A Shop front grants is available to local retailers to make exterior improvements to their business premises.

Staveley 21 - artists impression of new landmark building

One casualty in 2023 was the loss of the Staveley Hall project. This project was to add a function room extension to the Grade 2 listed hall, but in the end it became apparent that it was unlikely to be able to satisfy planning conditions, and the project was reluctantly dropped. This meant that the funding allocated to that project was available to be used by other existing projects which could demonstrate the additional benefits from having the extra funding. As a Board we were keen not to just put all the allocation into the Staveley 21 town centre scheme (which could no doubt have used all the £25 million of funding!), but rather to see what additional benefits could be found from the other nine projects too. We continue to work with all projects to ensure we can maximise the benefits and develop the programme on that basis.

One of the early considerations we had as a Board was the importance of communication with the residents and businesses in Staveley as to the progress of the programme, and we invited our Board member, Head Teacher from Springwell Community College, to chair a sub-group responsible for communication and engagement.  While it is clear you can never have enough information being circulated, the group has been successful in liaising with local groups and attending events throughout the year. This has also allowed us to work closely with school pupils in the area to explain to them the work that is being done on the various projects, and to try to give them some vision for their future in Staveley.

In addition to the Government’s agenda for the Town Deal Board, we were also keen to find additional ways in which we could have a positive influence and add long term value to the work that was being done in the area. Our Board member, local GP and Divisional Directo from the Royal Primary Care Trust was able to help us understand the health metrics locally and also raised the issue of lack of cooking skills being taught to young people these days in schools. The Town Deal Programme Manager, supported by Chesterfield College, have pushed forward with an initiative called Staveley To Eat Well (STEW), whereby a number of local school pupils spend time with catering students at the college to learn how to produce some simple but healthy meals. So far there have been three sessions for year 10 pupils, and it is hoped that we can roll this opportunity out to younger pupils from other schools in the area.

Just before Christmas I was invited to visit Staveley Junior School to have a look at the Christmas cards and decorations they had made. It was an opportunity for me to discuss with the Head Teacher the challenges the school faces, and we hope to be able to connect the school to local businesses who can help not only with funding, but also on developing the links with the world of work and careers.

Looking forward to 2024, in the first quarter we should see work for Staveley Waterside project, the construction skills hub, Wheels to Work e-bike scheme installation of Real Time Passenger Information Screens and the canal restoration beginning on their various sites. We have a busy year of delivery ahead of us and I have encouraged projects to display hoardings and sign boards so that the residents can see more detail of what is going on at the various sites around the area.  I hope that by this time next year we are seeing some real changes to the look of the wider town’s built environment and amenities.

This Town Deal is a once in a generation opportunity for us all, and I hope you are encouraged by the hard work and commitment that is going in to delivering these projects for you.

Ivan Fomin, Chair, Staveley Town Deal Board.

 Ivan Fomin

Last updated on 01 February 2024