Becketwell was once a busy shopping area with commercial trade centred around a large shopping mall in Duckworth Square and a large Debenhams department store.
In the late 1990s the shopping mall closed and then demolished in 2003. Three years later, Debenhams relocated to a larger shopping mall elsewhere the city centre. The loss of these two resulted in the economic decline of the area.
Successive attempts to develop Duckworth Square were unsuccessful and it remains as an eye sore and blight on the city landscape which has led the Council to take the lead to enable private sector investment.
The Council purchased Duckworth Square in 2014 and is now negotiating the purchase of the Debenhams building in order to make the site "investor-ready". It is expected that the deal with its owner, intu, will be completed in January 2017.
D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership provided £4m in grant funding to assist in the preparation of the area for regeneration. Part of those funds were used that will be used for the purchase of of the former Debenhams building in March 2017 which has now been put on the market.
We are now inviting expressions of interest to operate a leisure facility on Duckworth Square in the city centre.
Consultants have recommended that the area is well-suited for an approximate 500-capacity indoor international ice-rink with a 70-station gym and dance/exercise studio. Such an ice rink would cater for individual leisure uses as well as competition ice-skating and ice-hockey teams.
A feasibility study has shown that the location, comprising 1.3 hectares of land, would be suitable for a mixed use including residential, commercial, leisure and health with potential retail on Victoria Street. Soft marketing testing in 2016 by the Council's strategic property advisor, Cushman and Wakefield, has confirmed the suitability of the area for a mix of residential, retail and leisure uses.
Since being announced at the Derby Property Summit in June 2016 investors have expressed an interest in the location.