Growth deals for North Derbyshire
Our survey of the top SMEs in North Derbyshire shows significant progress on last year, and levels of confidence in the economy are such that I would expect further progress in the current year.
One key reason for this confidence is the level of government support being pushed out to the regions. North Derbyshire is in the unique position of having a foot in two camps, being involved in both the Sheffield City Region (SCR) and the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Local Enterprise Partnerships. The local authority is also a member of the SCR Combined Authority and is expected to be one of the ten councils to form part of the Derby and Derbyshire Combined Authority when it is launched in October of this year. Whilst there are concerns that this double identity might lead to a loss of focus, it does open up two streams of funding to local businesses and infrastructure projects.
The SCR was granted a devolution deal by the Government in December, giving it control over large elements of transport infrastructure, skills, housing and funding for growth via a Growth Hub and support for Access to Finance. This adds to the total of £355m granted in two Growth Deals announced in the past 12 months.
D2N2 has received Growth Deals for similar requirements amounting to £196m to cover the same 6 year period, together with a Regional Growth fund (RGF) of £16m to be administered as “Invest to Grow” by the University of Derby.
The emphasis being given to the regions by all the political parties has been embraced with enthusiasm by Destination Chesterfield, which is currently working on a strategic plan for the next three years. Chesterfield Champions, the Made in Chesterfield campaign and Invest in Chesterfield have driven a considerable increase in inward investment enquiries, whilst indigenous businesses are seeing pleasing increases in employment numbers.
Evidence of growing confidence in the region continues to show; the Enterprise Zone at Markham Vale is attracting good quality new occupiers, with Henry Boot also embarked upon some speculative development, there is continued physical progress at Chesterfield Waterside, The University of Derby received grant funding for its 30,000 square foot new site in Chesterfield, and the redevelopment of Queens Park Sport Centre will further strengthen the town’s offering.
On our part, BHP remains committed to growth within Chesterfield and we are looking to relocate to a bigger site within the town. Keen to support Chesterfield, we were delighted that BHP’s contribution to the region was recognised by winning the award for Excellence in Professional Services at the recent Derbyshire Times Business Awards, and we look forward to celebrating further successes for local business in next year’s survey.