The Director General of the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) was here to see first hand the work and vision of D2N2 – the Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
CLG is one of the Departments that has provided resources for the Growing Places Fund (GPF) and Mr Schofield was looking at projects that already, or could in the future, benefit from the work of the D2N2 LEP.
One stop on his tour was the Chesterfield Waterside project, where he met with Peter Swallow, the developer of the site and chair of Destination Chesterfield, as well Mike Hayden, head of regeneration at Chesterfield Borough Council, as well as D2N2’s David Ralph and chairman Peter Richardson.
Chesterfield Waterside is an innovative and sustainable £340 million scheme and is currently the (47th) largest regeneration project in the UK, which will rise from the remains of the old Trebor factory and is a major mixed-use regeneration scheme located immediately adjacent to the town centre.
He then met with local business leaders from the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce (DNCC) during a working lunch to listen to the issues and challenges they face as they look to grow their companies and the local economy, and what D2N2 can do to help.
The last stop was Langley Mill firm Prometheus Developments, which designs and develops fire protection products. Prometheus owns its own unique patented fire protection technology and has recently received a financial boost from D2N2’s Growing Places Fund.
Mr Ralph said: “The visits today enabled us to bring to life some of the key challenges and opportunities in the D2N2 area.
“The session to meet with businesses was localism in action. It enabled local businesses to discuss directly with senior civil servants some of the key challenges in skills, infrastructure and financing key issues like the provision of superfast broadband and skills for a 21st century workforce.
“Prometheus is a great example of the innovation we all know exists in this area and a shining example of excellence.
“This visit truly demonstrated what D2N2 is about and I am sure Mr Schofield took away with him the feeling that D2N2 is the most inspirational postcode in the UK.”
DNCC Chief Executive George Cowcher added: “It was a terrific coup to get one of the UK’s most senior civil servants to visit Derbyshire to see the true potential of the economy and the business community here.
“We have some fantastic businesses of all sizes here in Chesterfield and showcasing them to such a senior political figure will hopefully send the message that there is a world outside of London and that the regional economies can thrive if given the right level of support and funding.”
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