Postcard from Chesterfield in 2035 (inspired by the Zero Carbon Britain Making It Happen report)
Chesterfield town centre is more vibrant, and people can meet, stroll and shop in traffic-free streets. Cars no longer dominate and vast areas of the land that were once used for car parking, including Rose Hill have been made into an attractive park, and the Doughnut has been converted to a high quality social housing development.
Following reregulation in 2021, buses are frequent, cheap and more convenient than travelling by car and there is a bus interchange at the station. The bus network covers the entire borough with a 24-hour service and bus fares all cost £1.50 no matter how far you go, with one ticket valid for all operators. There is a free electric shuttle bus serving the hospital, run by the municipal Chesterfield Bus Company. The tram has been extended from Halfway serving the new residential areas along the Staveley corridor and Barrow Hill using tram/trains on the existing line. All railways will be electrified and a new passenger service between Chesterfield and Sheffield introduced with stations at Whittington Moor, Barrow Hill and Killamarsh. The proposed Brimington Bypass was no longer needed and the money saved was ploughed into improving bus and train services instead.
There is a comprehensive network of segregated routes for cycling and walking, and combined with electric bikes cycling has now become the norm for all sorts of journeys, including to work and to the shops. All cars, light vans and buses are electric or hydrogen-fuelled, meaning they’re not only cleaner but quieter too. This has been helped by the reduction of traffic speeds in urban areas to 20mph, making residential areas much safer and enabling children to play outdoors in their streets. There are fewer cars too as electric car sharing schemes are established in every area.
In addition to being less stressed by their commute, people use technology to work more flexibly, all of which make for a more productive working day. The school run is a thing of the past as children walk, cycle or catch the bus on their own. The efficient public transport infrastructure extends to surrounding rural areas, where regular bus services connect with rail networks.
Holidaying in the UK is popular again, and as the gateway to the Peak District Chesterfield is a hub for tourism. There is a segregated cycle route all the way to Chatsworth and many people make the 10 mile journey easily using electric bikes hired at the station. Although some people still take occasional flights for family holidays, health or religious reasons, travelling by high-speed train to continental Europe is favoured by many.
People, especially children, are much healthier and less stressed as a result of the cleaner air and from walking and cycling more. People who work in Chesterfield benefit from the better transport system that gets them to work easily and cheaply, and are healthier and more productive as a result of walking, cycling to work, or save money from car sharing.