Chesterfield revealed as having key ingredients for successful post digital high street

Chesterfield has the raw ingredients to adapt and thrive in the face of the national ‘retail apocalypse,’ says the owner of the town’s Vicar Lane Shopping Centre, ALTERIS.

Bert Broadhead, Director of ALTERIS, spoke at the town’s popular annual Celebrate Chesterfield event. He said: “People still want shops, but, curating them better and creating a personalised experience for town centre visitors is the key to a successful post digital high street.”

The event, which updated the town on its major developments, was organised by Destination Chesterfield and held on Wednesday 20 March at the Winding Wheel.

Celebrate Chesterfield, now in its ninth year, is one of the biggest and most hotly anticipated business events in the area. This year, the free breakfast event attracted nearly 300 delegates all keen to hear the latest news on key developments like Chesterfield Waterside and Northern Gateway.

Peter Swallow, who is Managing Director of the Bolsterstone Group Plc which is developing Chesterfield Waterside also spoke at the event in his capacity as Chair of Destination Chesterfield.

He welcomed the ambitious redevelopment plans of Vicar Lane by ALTERIS. Plans include introducing a giant outdoor TV screen, street art, high speed internet, seating and outdoor events over the next six months.

Mr Broadhead added: “Chesterfield is already ahead of many town centres in the UK in terms of delivering a town centre experience to visitors. People no longer want identical, faceless town centres. They want a variety and mix of shops – both chain and independent stores as well as events which can engage the whole family.”

Located in the town centre close to Chesterfield’s Crooked Spire Church, the 207,000 square feet retail complex, was constructed in 2000. Vicar Lane is home to big retail names including H&M, River Island, T J Hughes and Superdrug. ALTERIS now hopes to attract more independent retailers to the complex, seeing them as being key to the future success of the shopping centre.

Peter Swallow commented: “Chesterfield is a town of opportunity and ALTERIS’ plans for Vicar Lane are testimony to the fact we have the partners and collaboration in place to drive forward our ambitions to not only deliver our current development plans, but also attract further investment.”

At the event, Huw Bowen, Chief Executive of Chesterfield Borough Council revealed that the council has made an application to the government’s Future High Streets fund to sustain and grow footfall on the high street. As part of the funding bid, Chesterfield Borough Council plans to introduce a universal Wi-Fi provision across the town centre.

Huw explained: “UK shopping habits have changed and Chesterfield is responding well to this in the town centre masterplan by recognising that increased residential living will create that all important footfall and buzz, further helping to make Chesterfield town centre a very desirable place to live, work, play and do business.”

Chesterfield town centre is just a short walk away from Chesterfield Waterside, offering a great mix of independent shops and high street retailers for workers and residents at Waterside Quarter – the new Avant Homes development of 277 houses which is set to start later this year.

A planning application was also recently submitted for office accommodation at Waterside and, subject to planning approval, construction of the offices will begin later this year. 

To see images from Celebrate Chesterfield, please visit here. And, to ensure you keep up to date with the latest updates on the Chesterfield Waterside development, please sign up to our newsletter using the box located on this page.