As big-hitting pub chain Wetherspoons lines up a move to Bolsover, some people are already sounding the death-knell for the town.
But with the investors poised to open attractive new premises in the town, the area is in the midst of a complete overhaul that some say will inject life back into the centre.
Work is nearly complete on a new Wetherspoons pub, The Pillar of Rock, on Castle Street, as the development of a new council contact centre on Middle Street continues. Morrisons have this week confirmed they are still going ahead with their development on Oxcroft Lane, which promises to bring 250 jobs to Bolsover, in addition to the 40 set to be created when Wetherspoons opens on July 23.
Proposals for 350 new homes between Langwith Road, Mooracre Lane and Rotherham Road are being considered by the council, and the area was awarded £100,000 by the Mary Portas fund last year to develop the high street.
A spokesperson for Bolsover District Council, said: “Bolsover does need a boost. We recognise that and that’s what these new developments will bring to the town.
“The reports we have had indicate that half of the town’s spend goes outside the town. We want to keep that spend in the town so it benefits the local economy. New developments bring more people into the town, increasing footfall to the other shops and keeping the spend here.”
And business owners are hopeful about the benefits to be reaped by the changes.
James Mosley, landlord of the Anchor Inn on Market Place, said: “I think it will bring more trade, it will bring people to Bolsover.
“I can’t wait for them to come. I hope they do well and I hope it brings more businesses to the town.”
Al Sabzi, owner of Bella Blu restaurant in the Market Place, added: “I don’t think it will take our customers away. They do cheap food which will affect the pubs that serve food, but we offer something more high end.
“Any new business is good for the town. The town is dying. Businesses like ours are the only ones keeping it alive.”
But Ezzy Clifford, landlady of the Cavendish Hotel, said she was worried about the competition, and the lure of cheaper drinks.
She said: “What you don’t want is people going up there for cheap beers and then coming down here drunk out of their heads.”
Wetherspoon chief executive, John Hutson said: “ We are looking forward to opening our new pub in Bolsover and are confident that the pub will be a good addition to Bolsover and hopefully act as a catalyst for further investment in the town.”
But not all the changes have been embraced by the town, as the loss of Middle Street car park to make way for the new joint service contact centre for the council and police has made parking an issue.
Retired Brian Hepworth, of Sycamore Close, said: “Wetherspoons will be a good thing. There’s three pubs shut already. It is parking that is a problem now. No-one can come here because they can’t park.”
Julie Gillies, a campaigner from Save Sherwood Green, said: “Since the council moved out of Sherwood Lodge there are 250 less jobs in Bolsover, and that is 250 less people spending money in the town during the day.
“Likewise, there used to be a lot of parking in Bolsover that’s not there anymore. At the last meeting of Save Sherwood Green, there were a lot of elderly people reporting that they no longer feel it is an option to come in to Bolsover as the parking is no longer there.”
Andrew Fretwell, owner of Julie’s Sandwich shop, said: “We are £100 a day down since the council moved out. There just aren’t the customers now, and there isn’t the parking for the people that do want to come.”
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