Derbyshire and Chesterfield councillors meet for “full and frank” discussion

Leaders of Derbyshire County Council and Chesterfield Borough Council met to discuss ways of working together after plans for Chesterfield to join Sheffield City Region were halted.

Councillor Barry Lewis, leader of Derbyshire County Council, met with his Chesterfield Borough Council counterpart, councillor Tricia Gilby at County Hall, Matlock, last Friday afternoon (23 June).

The meeting followed Chesterfield Borough Council’s decision last week to no longer pursue its plans to become a full member of Sheffield City Region – a move which would have meant some powers for key services in the town handed to a Sheffield City Region Mayor.

Derbyshire County Council had been opposed to the original plans, believing they were not in the best interests of Chesterfield residents.

Following the meeting, councillor Lewis said the focus was now firmly on working together to ensure the best investments and services for residents in Chesterfield and Derbyshire.

He said: “I’m really grateful to councillor Gilby for coming to County Hall for today’s meeting.

“What is clear is that we are both passionate about getting the best deal for Chesterfield and Derbyshire residents and we had a full and frank discussion about the best way of achieving this.

“We’ll be meeting again in the near future to progress our ideas.”

One of the major talking points is the current arrangement which sees Chesterfield Borough Council hand over £1.2m per year to Sheffield City Region in business rates which are collected from the Markham Vale Growth Zone at junction 29A of the M1.

Derbyshire County Council owns the site, and have invested more than £40m into the £88m site to bring jobs to the region.

Councillor Lewis added: “We do not believe money paid by businesses based in Derbyshire should be going to the Sheffield City Region. We want every penny which is collected to benefit Chesterfield and Derbyshire businesses and I discussed this with councillor Gilby.

“Before we meet again, we’ll be drawing up proposals for the best way of keeping this money in the county so that it can be re-invested in Chesterfield and Derbyshire.”

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