New milestone for £200 million city centre project

Published: 26 January 2021

Artist impression of Becketwell development

Detailed planning permission has already been granted for phase 1 of the Becketwell scheme.

Plans to regenerate a key area of Derby city centre have reached a major new milestone - with a contract signed to demolish a well-known former hotel. 

The Pennine Hotel and former Brannigans pub will be cleared to make way for the Becketwell redevelopment - an investment of more than £200 million to create apartments, offices, a new hotel, multi-storey car park, public square and performance venue on the Colyear Street site and adjacent land previously occupied by Debenhams and the Duckworth Square shopping centre.

The scheme is being delivered by Leeds-based St James Securities and will create more than 2,000 jobs.

Derby City Council has now awarded the demolition contract to Nuneaton specialists A R Demolition, with work due to start in the spring and continue until autumn. It follows the completion of a project carried out by contractors Cawarden to knock down the former Debenhams building in Victoria Street in August last year.

Councillor Matthew Holmes, the council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transportation, hailed the move as a major landmark in delivering an exciting transformation of a long-blighted area. He said:

This site has been a regeneration priority for many years. The closure of the Duckworth Square mall in the late 1990s and the subsequent relocation of Debenhams left the area in economic decline. It was compounded by the shutdown of the hotel five years ago.

We now have a tremendously exciting opportunity to reimagine a vitally important part of the city centre - creating new vibrancy, boosting the economy and providing facilities for more people to live, work and enjoy life in a thriving, prospering Derby.

The demolition team will begin by expertly removing asbestos from the site and then taking down the structure of the hotel floor by floor.

Arrangements have already been agreed to protect the neighbouring Himalayan Gurkha restaurant and the contractors will be liaising with local residents and businesses to keep them updated on developments.

Highway management measures will be introduced in parts of Colyear Street and Becketwell Lane during the work.

A R Demolition managing director Michael Henderson said the company was delighted to be appointed to work on such a significant scheme. 

It’s a complex project and it will employ up to 25 operatives at its busiest. Each phase requires careful consideration of the demolition methodology, the most challenging aspect being the location. A city centre location brings its own challenges for demolition. However, we have worked on highly complex city projects before and completed them with no issues for adjacent businesses or neighbours,” he said.

Given the proximity to other structures and live areas, we will be putting robust environmental controls and strict monitoring measures into place. This includes using our innovative high reach dust suppression system, that captures dust at source, preventing any significant nuisance.

Mr Henderson said community and sustainability were key objectives for the company:

As a contractor firmly based in the Midlands, it is great to be able to work on local projects that are generating future development on our doorstep. High-profile projects like this one are always highly contested and it is great to have succeeded in putting forward our proposals that add value back in our own communities.

Paul Morris, development director at St James Securities, added:

The appointment of the contractor for the demolition of the former Pennine Hotel is another key milestone in preparing the site for the long-awaited Becketwell regeneration scheme.

We look forward to getting on site to commence phase one of the scheme in early May.

Outline planning consent has been granted for the entire Becketwell scheme, with detailed permission for phase one, including 259 build-to-rent apartments on the former Debenhams site, achieved earlier this month.

Funding for the Becketwell project includes £8.1 million in Local Growth Fund investment – subject to Board approval – from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, the private sector-led partnership of business, local authorities, skills and training providers and community and voluntary services which works to promote economic and jobs growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

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