Chesterfield Borough Council has adopted an ambitious plan to support and rebuild Chesterfield’s economy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Chesterfield Economic Recovery Plan, which was approved by the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 14 July, outlines what the council, with the backing of other partner agencies, will do to support the town’s businesses to bounce back and help restore business and consumer confidence.
The Plan sets outs a comprehensive set of fully funded measures that include delivering a new business start-up support programme, which will encourage entrepreneurs and workers who may have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 to bring forward new business ideas. Funding and expert advice will be available as will a premises location service.
The council will also be launching a portfolio of skills delivery initiatives. The initiatives will focus on the skills and training needs of local people, particularly young people, to enhance their prospects of securing the jobs on offer. Chesterfield residents and businesses will be able to access a new virtual skills and careers information hub. Particular attention will also be paid to the establishment of initiatives to reskill and upskill the current workforce.
Innovative promotional campaigns are already being rolled out with Destination Chesterfield to encourage people to shop local and support town centre retailers and market traders. The Plan also includes a series of initiatives aimed at raising the profile of Chesterfield as a visitor destination and hub.
Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “Rebuilding the local economy following the easing of lockdown restrictions is a top priority for Chesterfield Borough Council and we have already implemented a number of financial and promotional measures to help our businesses through these challenging times.
“We understand this will be a worrying time for business owners of all sizes and it is important that the council and its partners continue to do all we can to ensure that local businesses receive all the help they need in these most challenging of times.
“Whilst there remains a high level of uncertainty about what the future holds, the Chesterfield Economic Recovery Plan provides a comprehensive roadmap for ensuring that Chesterfield continues to be a thriving borough.”
The council has to date paid out £25.7 million in small business grants to 2,202 Chesterfield businesses, administered business rates relief to a value of £18 million to 661 businesses and shared a further £1.05 million with 120 businesses via the Local Discretionary Grants Fund scheme.
The council has also provided expert advice and support to over 300 local businesses since mid-March and as a landlord to over 400 commercial tenants, amended rental terms including rent free periods for some and rent deferral arrangements for others.
The work done with retailers, market traders and licensees to safely and successfully re-open Chesterfield town centre has seen thousands of people return to the high street since 1 June.
The council has also not shirked from continuing to progress its ambitious £1 billion growth programme that when complete will deliver thousands of new jobs to the town and borough both during the construction phases and once works are complete. This includes the Northern Gateway Scheme where construction of the new Enterprise Centre on Holywell Cross (Donut) started on site during the lockdown period. Plans are also well advanced in progressing improvements to the public realm on Elder Way and taking forward the Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield project which will see a number of enhancements made to Chesterfield’s famous market grounds.
As part of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub, Chesterfield businesses can access an experienced business advisor and the council’s Economic Development team is always on hand to talk through and help develop solutions for businesses facing challenges large and small. You can contact the team by emailing the Economic Development team.
More information on the support that is available to businesses can be found on the business information section on the Coronavirus information hub.