Do the Strand

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The Strand, located in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter, featured in The Times as a positive case study for the UK high street.

Over a nine year period, Historic England collaborated with Derby City Council on the revitalisation of that city’s historic centre, an area with many handsome old buildings, including a row of shops known as the Strand. Modelled on the Burlington Arcade in London, it was the thriving retail heart of the city until this century. Fast-forward to 2008, and a fifth of the city centre’s premises were boarded up and many others horribly desecrated, despite being in a conservation area.

For nine years it collaborated with Derby city council on the revitalisation of that city’s historic centre, an area with many handsome old buildings, including a row of shops known as the Strand. Modelled on the Burlington Arcade in London, it was the thriving retail heart of the city until this century. Then an out-of-town shopping mall opened. By the time Historic England intervened in 2008, a fifth of the city centre’s premises were boarded up and many others horribly desecrated, despite being in a conservation area.

Historic England and Derby council each put in £844,000 and a further £924,000 came from private investment, but with that £2.6 million no fewer than 97 properties were repaired and the atmosphere of the town centre transformed. By 2016, 100 per-cent of the shops were occupied, footfall increased by 15 per cent (at a time when it dropped in high streets nationally by 26 per cent) and Derby was the proud winner of that year’s Great British High Street award for best high street in a city location. The city centre looks unique to Derby again.