Shaping a city centre we can be proud of: A year in review

Published: 10 May 2024

The members of the City Centre Taskforce standing outside of the Council Chamber

The launch of the City Centre Task Force to address immediate concerns fulfilled a manifesto promise

Councillor Nadine Peatfield, Cabinet Member for City Centre, Regeneration, Culture & Tourism, looks back on a busy first year in administration.

This past year has been a transformative one for Derby's city centre. We're on a mission to create a vibrant hub that celebrates culture and offers something for everyone, both visitors and residents.

The Market Place is poised to become the heart of this transformation. The long-awaited regeneration of the Assembly Rooms is finally moving forward. After years of unrealistic proposals, we have a plan that's achievable and delivers on our promises. The demolition of the derelict 1970s theatre building is scheduled for this autumn, making way for a cultural hub that Derby deserves.

Revitalisation is a top priority of this administration, and we've adjusted our plans to reflect that. We're focusing on well-being, green spaces, and breathing life back into empty shops. We're also committed to making the most of Derby's beautiful historic buildings - ensuring we deliver on the promises we made to the people of Derby.

One of our key priorities is the renovation of the iconic Market Hall. In our 2023 manifesto we pledged to ensure that Derby Market Hall was the right space for Derby businesses and visitors alike. This Grade II-listed building is now well on its way to becoming a vibrant retail and leisure destination, seamlessly connecting key areas of the city centre. The positive response we’ve had from potential tenants is incredibly encouraging.

Tackling short-term issues is also high on our agenda. In March, I launched a City Centre Taskforce to address immediate concerns and oversee ongoing projects. I’m actively exploring ways to fill empty shops. This includes a grant scheme specifically for the Cathedral Quarter, designed to incentivise property owners and potential occupiers to rejuvenate vacant units.

It's hard to believe a year has passed since the groundbreaking ceremony for Derby's new £45.8 million entertainment and conference venue. Construction at Becketwell is progressing swiftly, with the steelwork, tiered seating area and roof already taking shape. It won’t be long until we are hosting a wide range of events in the city!

There's a buzz in the air in Derby with all this ongoing development.

I'm pleased that a realistic approach to funding means we’re able to use the reallocated £10 million from the Levelling Up Fund to restore the Guildhall Theatre. This fulfils a long-term pledge I'm delighted I could kickstart in year one. Not only will this preserve a much-loved landmark, but it will create a platform for community arts groups to showcase their talents right in the heart of Derby's cultural scene.

Looking ahead, I’m very much looking forward to working with our preferred strategic development partners, VINCI and ION, who have been invited to develop more detailed plans for the cultural heart of the city.

Economic realities also forced us to reconsider the Eastern Gateway project. We've revised the plans, but the core objectives of the Future High Streets Fund – to reshape our city centre in a way that drives growth, improves experience and ensures future sustainability - remain. This improved proposal plays a crucial role in our long-term vision: a city centre we can all be proud of and enjoy spending time in.

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