VisitEngland’s former Chief Executive James Berresford has been appointed chairman of the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Heritage Trust for the next three years.
Mr Berresford has dedicated his working life to tourism becoming the first chief executive of the national tourist board VisitEngland, prior to that he was director of tourism at the North West Development Agency for eight years.
He said: “I’m both thrilled and honoured to have been appointed chairman of the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Heritage Trust. The project is one of national, if not international, standing and its success will help drive the continued resurgence of Buxton and the wider Peak District as leading visitor destinations.”
He will head up the £50 million project to restore the famous Georgian Crescent to full use as a thermal spa and 5-star hotel and heritage centre which is being funded by a £23.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, alongside funding from High Peak Borough Council, Derbyshire County Council, Historic England, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and developer Buxton Crescent Hotel and Thermal Spa Co Ltd.
Mr Berresford said: “I was born in Derbyshire and this position, will hopefully allow me to make a real contribution to the county I love.”
With the main construction contract now underway, establishing the trust is a vital part of the next stage of the project.
During his time he and the trust will protect the Crescent and spa buildings for future generations and establish and manage the associated visitor attractions focussing on the town’s unique spa heritage.
Councillor Tony Kemp, executive councillor for Regeneration and Tourism at the Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to have James on board. He has the demonstrable expertise and experience to guide this important element of the Crescent regeneration project.
“We are all very much looking forward to working with him to consolidate Buxton’s position as England’s leading spa town. I have every confidence that under his leadership we’ll establish a strong Trust which is able to deliver heritage and spa experiences for both residents and visitors that keep people coming back to Buxton time and time again.”
Councillor Caitlin Bisknell, Buxton Crescent Trustee, added: “We’re confident the Crescent development will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Buxton and the High Peak, boosting the local economy and providing another fantastic reason to visit Derbyshire.”