Plans revealed for former Assembly Rooms site

Published: 20 October 2020

Artist impression of Assembly Rooms site

Earlier this year Derby City Council decided to develop new 3,500 seater venue at Becketwell, after critical structural issues were found with the old Assembly Rooms.

Now plans have been revealed for how the site might be used once the Assembly Rooms is demolished. Following demolition it could be re-landscaped and used for pop-up markets and outdoor events, while the long-term re-development opportunities are progressed.

The space will be used for pop-up markets, including food and drink stalls with seating areas, entertainment spaces and car parking. The proposal will ensure the site contributes to the vibrancy of the Market Place and city centre.

Cllr Matthew Holmes, Deputy Leader of Derby City Council, said:

We did our very best to bring the Assembly Rooms back into use, but with costs increasing to over £33million we could no longer justify best value to the taxpayer or have confidence it wouldn’t increase further. Due to strong political oversight of the project, we were able to make that sensible decision prior to being contractually committed. That is why we are pursuing a brand new 3500 seater concert and entertainments venue at Becketwell. This is a very exciting prospect for Derby, delivered in partnership with the private sector. However this means we also now need to regenerate The Assembly Rooms site and to do that means we need a blank canvas to pursue what comes next.

We are already working on options for permanent long term redevelopment but we also have exiting plans so that the site can be used until then for a range of uses including varied outdoor markets, pop up retail, green space, food, drink and events. This will ensure, as we promised, that the site is not left as ‘a hole in the ground‘ or boarded off, something that we know is a concern for local businesses and City residents and for the council. I hope that everyone can get behind these plans as we are determined to create vibrancy and help drive our recovery forward so Derby can continue to prosper.

The Council hopes that a long-term development opportunity can be delivered in time that the shorter-term outdoor event space option isn’t needed. However, having the plans in place will mean the prime site will be contributing to city centre at the earliest opportunity.

Ideas for the future development of the assembly rooms site are currently being worked up by the Council and key partners. The development will contribute to the vibrancy of the Market Place area, complement the new vision for the historic Market Hall, the Quad and refurbishment of the Guildhall.

A vibrant city centre is a key part of the strategy developed to ensure Derby’s economy remains resilient in the face of the COVID-19 health emergency. A task force, made up of representatives from both public and private sectors, is driving activity to maintain business and investor confidence, diversify the local economy and decarbonise the city.

A specific workstream is examining regeneration of the city centre, taking into account new consumer behaviours driven by the pandemic and economic structural change.

This includes exciting plans to deliver a new 3,500 capacity venue in Derby’s Becketwell.

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