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Chamber is on the move

Posted on 1 November 2016

East Midlands Chamber* is moving to new offices.

Based in Chesterfield since its launch in the 1860s, the region’s biggest support organisation for business is moving to newer premises on the town’s Dunston Business Park.

For the address of the Chamber's new Chesterfield office and directions, please click here.

Repairs needed to the existing head office on Canal Wharf have rendered it no longer fit for purpose.

An outline planning application has been submitted to Chesterfield Borough Council to redevelop the Canal Wharf site as housing.

The Chamber bought Commerce Centre, the official name of the offices in Canal Wharf, in the mid-1980s.

But the flat-roofed, pre-fabricated construction of most of the site has been costly to maintain and was built long before consideration was given to an organisation’s green credentials, resulting in it being expensive to run.

The decision by the University of Derby to move its nursing college from the two-storey section of Commerce Centre to the refurbished St Helena building on Sheffield Road, closer to the town centre, has also influenced the Chamber’s decision to move.

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber*, said: “The current building needs constant air-conditioning in the summer and is almost impossible to heat in the winter, the roof leaks in too many places and last year the nursing college flooded in heavy rain.

“Asbestos was used in the construction of the pre-fabricated parts so no repairs can be made simply or cheaply.

“The floor area of Commerce Centre is about 80,000sq ft, which is more than the Chamber needs, and the sprawling, labyrinthine layout is not conducive to good business practice.

“For many years we had the University of Derby as an assured tenant in the two-storey wing of the offices but they moved this year to the refurbished St Helena building.

“Without the income from the university, the cost of running the centre is going to spiral out of control. The monthly heating and lighting bill in the winter is already thousands of pounds, which is silly money.

“It has been estimated that we would need to spend about £400,000 to make all the necessary repairs and improvements to Commerce Centre, but even that wouldn’t give us the ‘green’ credentials we are encouraging other businesses to adopt nor the accommodations we need.

“There comes a time when you have to say ‘enough is enough’, and that time is now.”

St Andrew's HouseThe Chamber is buying St Andrew’s House, Millennium Way, off Dunston Road, Chesterfield, a modern three-storey office building that can be easily adapted to meet the changing needs of a 21st Century business. It will be renamed Commerce House.

In addition to open-plan general offices, Commerce House has a number of smaller rooms, adjustable training suites, a boardroom and a catering centre. But unlike Commerce Centre, all the additional rooms can be accessed without walking through the Chamber’s main office.

The site has about 60 car parking spaces, modern car park lighting and closed-circuit TV security. The Chamber plans to occupy the first two floors and to let out the third floor.

Councillor John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “It is really good news that the East Midlands Chamber is moving to better premises in the town.

“The fact it is staying in Chesterfield rather than moving to another town or city shows that it views Chesterfield as a good place to do business and from which to support local members in the business community.

“We look forward to continuing our on-going work with the East Midlands Chamber and I’m sure businesses in Chesterfield will also welcome still having such support and guidance on their doorstep.”

Pete Swallow, Chair of Destination Chesterfield, said: “We’re delighted that East Midlands Chamber is keeping Chesterfield as its head office. It plays an active and key role in the business community here.

“The accessibility of its services in the town gives us an edge over neighbouring towns and cities, which further strengthens Chesterfield’s offering for businesses that choose to set up or relocate.”

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