Work begins on new public square at Becketwell

Published: 18 October 2022

Springwell Square will be the centrepiece of the £200m Becketwell development

Developers St James Securities were joined by representatives from Derby City Council, D2N2, main contractors GMI Construction Group and other key stakeholders at a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of building works on Springwell Square, which will be located on the site of the former Central United Reformed Church.

Springwell Square will be the centrepiece of the £200m Becketwell development and is being delivered as part of phase one of the scheme. It will be adjacent to The Condor, 259 one and two-bedroom Build to Rent (BTR) apartments, which are being built on the site of the former Debenhams store on Victoria Street and have been forward funded, acquired and will be operated by Grainger plc, the UK’s largest listed provider of private rental homes.

It is envisaged that the square will be multi-purpose, but with a focus on interaction with adjoining buildings and as a place to pause and relax, rather than a formal civic meeting or gathering place.

Both the BTR apartments and Springwell Square are scheduled for completion by Spring 2023.

Phase two of the scheme will feature an exciting new 3,500-capacity performance venue on the site of the former Pink Coconut nightclub, Laurie House offices, Pennine Hotel and multi-storey car park on Colyear Street, which will be operated by ASM Global, the world’s leading venue management and services company, and producer of live experiences.

It will be a fully flexible, scalable space capable of staging concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows, musical theatre, conferences, and exhibitions, along with a range of business events.

Construction work on the performance venue is set to commence in early 2023, with completion and handover to the operator in late 2024.

Future planned phases of the scheme include the potential for a range of other complementary uses of the site including new grade A offices and commercial space, a hotel and multi-storey car park and purpose-built student residential.

Commenting on the start of construction work on Springwell Square, Paul Morris, Director of St James Securities, said:

We’re delighted to see construction work start on schedule on Springwell Square, the next stage of this landmark regeneration scheme for the City of Derby.

 Over the past five years, we have been real trailblazers, prepared to take on a site that has been challenged for many years and putting together a scheme which will breathe new life into the area.

 Springwell Square will open up land to the south and bring it back into use. It will be a place where people can meet and relax in an informal space and will improve the vibrancy and attraction of the city centre.

Councillor Steve Hassall, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Decarbonisation, Strategic Planning and Transport at Derby City Council, added:

We can see with the work that has already taken place exactly how significant a development Becketwell is for our city centre, with a new public square at its heart. We secured the funding for this scheme with an aspiration to make Derby a vibrant place where people want to live, work, and visit. We are now seeing that aspiration become a reality.

We look forward to the next stages of the development, which will bring economic and social benefit to Derby’s residents and businesses. The performance venue will create hundreds of jobs, generate millions of pounds and kick-start further investment around the city centre.

Andy Bruce, Divisional Managing Director at GMI, added:

Partnerships are vital to our success at GMI and we are pleased to have started work on this exciting development with St James Securities and Derby City Council.

We understand the importance of community spaces and, being the centrepiece of the development, Springwell Square will provide a great opportunity for residents to come together and enjoy the green, outdoor space that it provides.

The Becketwell regeneration scheme in Derby is the most significant urban regeneration scheme in the city for more than 30 years and is expected to bring numerous benefits to the city, and will create a vibrant, exciting, new quarter of residential, commercial leisure activity in the heart of Derby city centre.

It is also hoped that the substantial levels of investment made at Becketwell will provide confidence for further new investment in surrounding areas of the city centre. 

The scheme is being developed by St James Securities, a privately-owned Leeds-based property developer, with a track record of delivering successful major regeneration schemes. 

St James Securities have completed many successful projects of this scale, including St Paul’s Place in Sheffield and the award-winning Round Foundry in Leeds.

Funding for the Becketwell project includes £8 million in Local Growth Fund investment 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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