Derby’s £23 million bid to revitalise city centre

Published: 10 June 2020

Artist impression of Becketwell development

Derby is to ask the Government for £23.7 million to help fund a series of schemes that will reinvigorate the city centre

Derby is to ask the Government for £23.7 million to help fund a series of schemes that will reinvigorate the city centre, attract more visitors and create hundreds of jobs.

The money will enable delivery of new office space, create attractive public areas, utilise digital technology to improve visitor experience and provide an exciting new use for one of the city’s most historic buildings.

It will establish striking new ‘gateways’ to the city centre and better connect key areas.

Derby’s bid for cash will be submitted to ministers later this month (June 2020) as part of the £1 billion Future High Streets Fund initiative – launched to re-energise UK city and town centres, attract new businesses, boost growth and create new infrastructure and jobs.

Success with the application would unlock a total investment of around £100 million – with the rest coming from the city council and private investors – and would be a major boost to Derby’s efforts to reshape and renew its local economy following the COVID-19 health crisis.

An initial Derby plan found favour with civil servants last year and the city was asked to work up a full business case.

This will be submitted by mid-June and will include:

Becketwell regeneration: conversion of an existing building and new development to create 18,000 square feet of offices and creative workspace together with a new public square, to be known as Summer Hill Yard. This will complement the main public square proposed as part of the first phase of the wider Becketwell scheme, a major redevelopment of the entire area, including shops, restaurants and new homes, by Leeds-based St James Securities.

Market Hall transformation: securing the future of this Grade 2-listed building by offering an exciting venue for food and drink, themed markets, a ‘make-and-trade’ zone for new entrepreneurs and space for events and activities.

Enhanced digital infrastructure: delivering high-quality public WiFi and Smart City technologies to help visitors access real-time information on events, public transport, air quality and car parking.

St Peters Demonstrator Unit: securing vacant store space for use as a testbed for new cultural, leisure and business ideas that will enrich the high street and attract visitors.

Eastern Gateway: working in partnership with Intu to create new entrances from the bus station along East Street, with improved public realm and providing opportunities for development of vacant retail space.

The scheme, produced in conjunction with stakeholders such as the Vibrant City Partnership and Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter Business Improvement Districts, will also see general improvement and ‘greening’ of the streets in the St Peters Cross area.

Councillor Matthew Holmes, Deputy Leader of Derby City Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transportation, said the proposals would better connect the city centre so that it could function as an integrated whole and create a more attractive and diversified offer:

Successful city centres are the ones able to combine great retail and leisure offerings with residential and business use. Our Future High Street Fund bid, viewed alongside schemes like the Nightingale Quarter and Castleward housing developments and the new Museum of Making, will help to shape a city centre that can be a great place to live, work and relax.

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