Grade A growth for Cathedral Green


Derby City Council has announced plans for 37,500 sq ft of Grade A riverside office development.

Situated alongside the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the world’s first factory, the Silk Mill, One Cathedral Green will include a 12,500 sq ft regional headquarters for Unite the Union.

The scheme is expected to cost £9 million and create 180 new jobs in addition to those safeguarded at Unite the Union. It will include basement car parking and be completed by Autumn 2020.

Derby City Council will be working in partnership with Wilson Bowden who have owned the site since 2014. An operator for the managed workspace has been identified and details will be announced in due course.

The building is expected to provide Grade A workspace for companies looking for a city centre location. Grade A space has been in short supply in recent years, so this development is expected to be extremely popular.

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Councillor Matthew Holmes, cabinet member for regeneration, said, “There is a need for larger office spaces in the city centre. This new model of office development will enable businesses to grow, attract new occupiers and enable commerce to thrive.”

John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said, “We welcome this development which will help to meet demand for high quality office space in the city centre. An increase in the number of people working at One Cathedral Green will have a positive impact on the economy and vibrancy of the city centre.”

Smith Cooper advises on KFC restaurant sale

Bondholder Smith Cooper Corporate Finance has advised on the multimillion-pound acquisition of seven KFC restaurants in London.

FT Foods, a newly incorporated company owned by Fazan Tahir, has completed the deal with KFC UK & Ireland, forming part of its wider refranchising programme.

FT Foods is part of a grouping of companies created by the Tahir Group, a London-based property development and investment group operating KFC restaurants and Starbucks Coffee shops.

Food and beverage specialists, John Farnsworth and David Crump, at Smith Cooper Corporate Finance assisted FT Foods in developing a bid document, agreeing terms with KFC’s advisers and project-managing the transaction through to completion.

Commenting on the transaction, Fazan Tahir said: "This deal is a significant step in my journey from my start in 1994 to what is today a multi-award-winning, multi-million-pound sales KFC business.

"I am very proud of our innovation, numerous awards and my outstanding team with its best-in-class culture.

"We intend to take the acquired restaurants forward and to add additional outlets, just as we always have done.

"As to the deal process that has been a huge project that I couldn’t have completed without my internal team, the management at KFC, Michael Stace and his team at Browne Jacobson, and the Smith Cooper Corporate Finance team.

"I have known John and David for some time and contacted them right at the start of this process; that turned out to be a key decision and I was tremendously impressed by the professionalism, determination and focus they brought to the delivery of their invaluable input."

Head of Corporate Finance, John Farnsworth, said: "David and I are delighted to have worked with Fazan, his team and advisers, and with KFC and their advisers to secure this important acquisition for the Tahir Group.

"We really enjoyed working with Fazan’s highly-motivated award-winning team, and have no doubt whatever that the business will continue to grow at an exemplary pace whilst still maintaining top operational and service quality – this is an exceptional business."

Signage company toasts Bondholder success


Bondholder Lemon Signs has been consolidating recent successes which have arisen by working with fellow Marketing Derby Bondholders.

In a collaboration with fellow Bondholder Alt Design, which undertook the re-branding of Bondholder Robinsons, Lemon Signs were asked to produce signage for the steel construction company’s new premises in Derby.

Martin Lemiesz, managing director of Lemon Signs, said: “It was an amazing opportunity for us as a small business and even more exciting as we'd had front row seats of the project as we are located just a few yards away."

The new site which covered 5340m2 contained office space as well as a workshop production facility and large car park.

He continued: "The sheer size of the building offered up some challenges as we set about producing and installing the exterior signage, as well as full vehicle wraps."


Another project was for new restaurant and Bondholder Lotus Indian Kitchen, which opened its doors to the public at Bondholder Mercia Marina.

Overlooking the water and serving authentic Indian street food, the main branding is a henna style letter "L".

The Lemon Signs team were able to put forward its expertise on this project as there were many different types of signage required to fulfil the brief. Inside of the restaurant, the main wall logo was made with the use of 3D materials.

Lemiesz said: "We were really pleased with the finished results and I cant wait to take the Lemon Signs team there for a celebratory dinner."

Bondholders collect for charity


Bondholder Brewer Science teamed up with fellow Bondholder YMCA Derbyshire to collect toiletries such as deodorant and shower gel for use in YMCA accommodation across Derby to help young, vulnerable people get back on their feet and find their place in the community.

YMCA Derbyshire has just opened 12 new units within Derby City, which builds upon its existing offer of providing supported accommodation for more than 300 young people each year across the county. Toiletries such as the ones collected by the Brewer Science team help them to supply welcome packs for their young people. Young people often arrive at their door without any possessions, whether they’ve come from a friend’s sofa or from being on the streets. Through providing welcome packs, the YMCA offers a glimmer of hope and an opportunity to start again with support and a safe front door.

Sarah Crane, Fundraising and Communications Manager, “At YMCA Derbyshire, our vision is enabling young people and communities to thrive. We cannot do this without the generous support of neighbouring organisations such as Brewer Science, who help us to help our residents move forward positively with their lives. Donations such as this make a such a difference to our young people’s wellbeing.”

Brewer Science’s Vicki Smith said, “Brewer Science is committed to making our community a better place to live and work, so when we heard that the YMCA was in desperate need of toiletries for its residents in Derbyshire, we knew we wanted to help. We hope we have made a difference, however small, to the lives of people who have fallen on hard times."

We wanted to thank all of our employees and those of NFU Mutual (also of Darley Abbey Mills), who contributed so generously to the collection. For more information please contact or

Chamber of the year


Bondholder East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) has won overall Chamber of the Year title at the prestigious British Chambers of Commerce Business Awards.

Now in its 15th year, the national Chamber Business Awards is one of the showpiece events in the business calendar, highlighting the role of business in delivering growth and prosperity for the UK and local communities.

The Chamber was also joined on the night by four member companies – Bondholders Tidyco and Trent Barton as well as Dalycom, Shirebrook Academy – which had gone on to enjoy regional success following their respective achievements at the Chamber’s Business Awards across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

It has been a busy and productive 2018 for the Chamber which, as the leading business support organisation in the region, continues to dedicate itself to providing its members with a comprehensive and ever-evolving suite of products, services and information to help businesses succeed and thrive.

Reflecting on the award, Francis Martin, President of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) has shown impressive growth and retention in recent years. The strategic work and engagement of the Chamber with local stakeholders embodies the mission of Chambers of Commerce everywhere.

“Its efforts to engage with other Chambers and improve member offerings is a testament to its dedication. Congratulations to the entire East Midlands team, truly worthy recipients of this award.”

Steve Charles, Head of Business Partnerships at award sponsor Quest, said: “Congratulations to East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), deserved winners of this prestigious award.

“It is a great example of how a Chamber can make a significant contribution to the national network while also taking a leading and influential role in its own business community. It has developed a first-class service to members, which is witnessed by its continued growth. Well done to all the team.”

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), added: “To win Chamber of the Year is a fantastic achievement and a great endorsement of the extensive activity we deliver to our members across the region.

“This acknowledgment is testament to the dedication and hard work shown by all the staff at the Chamber, who made this award possible by continuing to work tirelessly and passionately on behalf of our members to fulfil our overall objective – to enhance East Midlands businesses.”

Turnover at the East Midlands Chamber rose by more than £1m during "a year of growth and expansion" for the organisation.

Newly filed accounts for the chamber have revealed that its turnover increased from £8m to £9.3m in the year to 31 March 2018.

The organisation, which represents Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, also reported a pre-tax profit of £266,107, up from £131,219.

International and ISPO income dropped from £1m to £984,092 during the while but membership and training earnings rose from £3.2m to £3.21m.

Its D2N2 income rose from £997,067 to £1.1m while earnings from other income sources went from £2.3m to £3.2m.

Chief executive Scott Knowles said: "It’s another solid set of results, reflecting the fantastic growth the chamber has seen over the year.

"Membership numbers continue to rise – now standing at over 4200 – and the broad range of products and services we deliver to members and others across the East Midlands continue to perform well across the board.

"All businesses are having to deal with uncertainty at the moment and the chamber is no different.

"However, we face 2019 in a really strong position – this is a reflection of all the great work our staff do and the continued support given to us by members, which is best recognised by our recent success, being awarded the national Chamber of the Year Award for 2018."

A statement signed off by the board said: "2017-2018 was a year of growth and expansion for the chamber.

"While the full business implications of the UK's exit from the European Union are yet to be known, the chamber and its board have been proactive in assessing the organisation's potential exposure to different future scenarios including funding changes and reviewing these regularly through its risk and audit committee.

"The chamber optimised its facilities following its February 2017 Chesterfield office relocation and its 2016 Leicester occupation and management of the Friars Mill managed workspace facility.

"It refurbished its Derby office located at Pride Park and determined to dispose of legacy investment properties located in Chesterfield as these were not core business."

The chamber has its registered office in Chesterfield and its partner companies include the likes of Wilko, HSBC, Rolls-Royce, Derby County FC, Toyota, DHL, Air-IT and De Montfort University.

The organisation, which has more than 150 employees, is owned by its member businesses which at year-end stood at a total of 4,175, up from 4,071. The chamber has since said that membership levels now stand at more than 4,200.

Extension to A50 business park

Bondholder CWC is set to create hundreds of new jobs at a Derbyshire business park after plans for a major extension were given the go-ahead.

South Derbyshire District Council has approved the scheme, which will involve adding almost 500,000 sq ft of space at Dove Valley Park, off the A50 at Foston.

The extension, set over 58 acres, represents the second phase of the business park, which was first established in the late 1990s on a parcel of land that was once part of the RAF Church Broughton airfield.

Today, Dove Valley is home to businesses including JCB Power Systems, Futaba International, Kuehne and Nagel and Muller.

The extension will be built to the north of Dove Valley Park where parts of a former RAF airfield still remain.

Now, further big names could be set to move in creating new jobs.

The extension will see three new units built, which would be no smaller than 161,458 sq ft each and would be for general industrial, storage and distribution use.

Marketing Derby reaches milestone 350 Bondholders

Marketing Derby is excited to announce that NWG has become the 350th Marketing Derby Bondholder.

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Having started with an initial 35 companies just over 10 years ago, Marketing Derby Bondholders have grown to include some of the most dynamic and vibrant businesses Derby and Derbyshire has to offer. 

Bondholders financially support Marketing Derby to carry out inward investment activity, attracting 5,000 jobs and over £300m of investment since its inception, and in return receive benefits such as an incredibly popular events programme.

350th Bondholder NWG is a UK national charity based in Derby, working to end child sexual exploitation and trafficking. It works to raise awareness, share knowledge and improve services for children and their families through the 14,500 strong network of professionals and practitioners. 

Talking about their decision to join Marketing Derby Katie Elam, Business Development Manager, said: “We are delighted to be joining this thriving organisation and looking forward to working with members of the business community to raise awareness and help build zero tolerance to child sexual exploitation and modern slavery.”

Marketing Derby Managing Director John Forkin said: “We are proud to have reached this significant milestone of 350 Bondholder members.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Bondholders for their ongoing commitment to Marketing Derby which allows us to support the ongoing development of Derby and now Derbyshire as a place of choice for investors and businesses.”

To find out more about becoming a Bondholder visit: or contact Lindsey Hatfield

Learning Unlimited hosts its first national awards

Learning Unlimited national awards

Apprentices and employers from across the country joined together in November to celebrate their successes during Bondholder Learning Unlimited’s very first ever National Apprenticeship Awards.

During a glittering ceremony at Pond's Forge in Sheffield, awards were presented to businesses and individuals in recognition of their dedication, work and commitment to developing a skilled workforce though apprenticeships. TV personality and journalist, Helen Fospero, presented the awards to those who had been chosen from the hundreds of nominations received from peers and managers.

Derbyshire Constabulary received national recognition when they were awarded the Employer of the Year title for demonstrating their commitment to developing apprentices in their organisation. Detective Inspector, James Bateman, joined the stage to collect the award with his colleagues only to take to stage later that evening for a second time when he was awarded the title of Higher Apprentice of the Year.

Kirsty Norman, HR Development Manager, said: “Derbyshire Constabulary were pleased to be invited by Learning Unlimited to their annual awards ceremony. We were thrilled and surprised to be awarded Employer of the Year in recognition of our support for our apprentices. In addition, it was particularly pleasing to see Detective Inspector James Bateman be awarded Higher Apprentice of the Year in Leadership and Management.”

Mark Bennington, Vice Principal Commercial Services and Enterprise at the Chesterfield College Group, said: “The Learning Unlimited National Apprenticeship Awards provided us with the opportunity to recognise the value of apprenticeships and the employers who are invested in the apprenticeship model.

“Each award presented during the evening represented the positive impact on each and every one of those individuals and businesses. We look forward to working with our apprentices and businesses over the coming year and look forward to next year’s Apprenticeship Awards!”

Other winners included:

Employer of the Year - Derbyshire Constabulary.

Advanced Apprentice of the Year – Winner - Luke Bunting (Bombardier).

Higher Apprentice of the Year – Winnner - James Bateman (Derbyshire Constabulary).

Roll out of game-changing farming software


Bondholder Baldwins, one of the UK’s largest specialist agricultural business advisors, is partnering with New Zealand-based agricultural software provider Figured to help roll out software that is revolutionising the day-to-day management of farms.

Figured is a complete livestock, crop and production tracking tool which is digital, online and cloud-based, and is an essential forecasting tool that works hand-in-hand with Xero – a cloud-based accounting platform.

It is the only farm accounting software which allows a whole team to collaborate around the same data in real-time, from wherever they are working.

Baldwins’ partnership with Figured forms part of the firm’s mission to provide added value to its 3,750 farming clients across the UK.

It is also a strategic collaboration for both firms to support product development and open up new opportunities that will help drive the UK farming industry forward.

Andy Ritchie, head of Baldwins’ national rural team, added:  “Combining the experience of our team with the detailed capabilities of this software will unlock a higher level of reporting and even better advice for farmers up and down the country.

“For example, farmers will now be able to forecast future cash flow based around differing scenarios, while also tracking livestock and crop production.”

David Kirby, UK Managing Director of Figured, was delighted to announce the strategic partnership with the Baldwins Group.

He added: “Our company is all about improving the business of farming, by providing the whole farming team made up of accountants, farmers, advisers and bankers up-to-date financial information.

“This enables them to have better conversations, make better decisions and improve the management of their business.

“Baldwins has an exciting vision of supporting and adding more value for their rural clients, therefore we wholly support Baldwins as they develop and scale-up their services to the farming sector.”

Baldwins has more than 80 offices across the UK and is part of the CogitalGroup – an international business services group with annual revenues in excess of £450m, employing around 6,000 people across 176 offices.

First class apprenticeship scheme


Bondholder East Midlands Trains, part of Stagecoach Group, is the first in the UK to pioneer a new level three train driver apprenticeship programme which is designed to support the industry’s commitment to grow its skills base and further professionalise the train driver role.

Launched last week by the new Rail Minister Andrew Jones, the new train driver apprenticeship programme, which is part of the National Driver Academy, is now underway at the train operator’s academy in Derby. Nine new drivers are the first to test the new common approach to Part A as part of the Level 3 Apprenticeship Standard.

The new Apprenticeship Standard, which has been designed to reflect the professionalism needed for the train driver’s role, will allow successful trainees to secure a formal certification. It has been developed in partnership with the drivers union ASLEF; the Rail Safety and Standards Board; Rail Delivery Group; the Institute of Railway Operators and the National Skills Academy for Rail. The Apprenticeship Standard will be applicable to all train operators and freight operators in England.

The rail industry is planning to train more than 1000 drivers next year with all train operators moving to use the new Driver Academy over 2019. East Midlands Trains will train around 30-40 new apprentice drivers over the next year.

Rail Minister Andrew Jones, who met the new driver apprentices in Derby said: “I am delighted to launch the Train Driver Apprenticeship Programme, a project which will recruit a new generation of drivers with the skills and management to provide more reliable journeys for passengers.

“This initiative follows the recent completion of vital infrastructure upgrades at Derby Station, and helps prepare the East Midlands for the arrival of modern, fast and efficient intercity and express trains.”

Kirsty Derry, HR Director for East Midlands Trains and Chair of the Driver Academy, said: “Train drivers are key to delivering great customer service, and with the industry’s exciting investment in technology it was clear that there was a skills and capability gap developing across the entire sector.

“That’s why we’ve been working with the Academy members, Department for Transport, ASLEF and safety and skills bodies across the industry to develop a solution to this skills challenge and take this significant step forward in professionalising the train driver role.

“We’re delighted to be leading the way, piloting the new common approach to Part A Level 3 Apprenticeship training at East Midlands Trains, and we look forward to working with the rest of the industry to roll this out further.”

A total of nine new drivers are trialling the new apprenticeship scheme, coming from a variety of backgrounds including the army, police force, as well as three former tram drivers and a window blind fitter.

Derby 6th best place to live for the under 30s


Derby has been ranked the sixth best place to live in the UK for under 30s.

The city came highest in the region in the survey which compared the cost of living and working, job satisfaction and commuting and general happiness levels.

John Forkin, Managing Director at Marketing Derby, said: “Our growing University, range of job opportunities, higher than average salaries and lower than average costs places Derby as an attractive proposition for the talent our economy requires.“

Conducted by financial services provider OneFamily, the study also took into account levels of concern regarding job prospects, work-life balance, the local property market and crime.

The survey ranks the UK's towns and cities with over 200,000 residents.

It is based on both the balance of income and costs of living in each place, as well as how residents feel about living there.

The top 10 places are:

  1. Sunderland

  2. Leeds

  3. Aberdeen

  4. Milton Keynes

  5. Liverpool

  6. Derby

  7. Swindon

  8. Leicester

  9. York

  10. Nottingham

According to the survey, the majority of workers under 25 say they would relocate for increased wages, with nearly half saying they would move for a more affordable cost of living.

Firms confirm advanced merger discussions


Bondholder BDO, and fellow accountancy and business advisory firm, Moore Stephens LLP have confirmed they are in advanced merger discussions, with deal completion expected in spring 2019.

As well as advising the UK’s entrepreneurial mid-sized businesses, the new firm will aim to challenge its larger competitors for more complex audit, tax and advisory work.  

The combined firm will have gross annual revenue of £590m delivered by 5,000 people across the UK. The firm will take on the BDO brand, as it will remain part of BDO globally, the largest mid-tier accountancy organisation in the world with revenues of over $8bn and operating in 162 countries. It will be one of the top auditors in the country based on the number of UK-listed companies it audits.

Partners of both firms have voted in favour of the merger, subject to final contracts.

The proposed deal relates only to Moore Stephens LLP – consisting of offices in London, Birmingham, Reading and Bristol.

BDO managing partner Paul Eagland said the combined entity would offer "greater choice, competition and scalability to the top-end of the market" and would be "better placed to deal with any economic disturbance from Brexit".

"If ever there were a time for firms to turbo-charge their growth, it’s now," he added. "It was clear from our first meeting that we share similar culture and values.

"As professional services firms, our people are our greatest asset and it is essential that we create an enlarged business that retains the best of our similar cultures. Both firms are full of innovative people who are experts in their field – this will continue.

"BDO is in a great position in the market, both in the UK and across the world as part of an $8bn BDO global organisation.

"In the last 12 months – in the wake of Carillion and the subsequent focus on competition in the audit market – the UK market now has a better appreciation of BDO’s capability and quality. This deal increases our credibility further and proves our commitment to competing in the top-end of the market.

Rolls-Royce celebrates as first airbus A330neo delivered to TAP Air Portugal


Bondholder Rolls-Royce this week joined TAP Air Portugal and Airbus to celebrate delivery of the first A330neo aircraft to enter service, which is powered by Trent 7000 engines.

Antonoaldo Neves, CEO, TAP Air Portugal, Guilaume Faury, Airbus, President – Commercial Aircraft and Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, attended a formal handover ceremony at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France.

The exclusive engine for the A330neo, the Trent 7000 is the seventh in a Trent family that has now accumulated more than 125 million engine flying hours.

The Trent 7000 also brings together more than 50 million flying hours of experience from the Trent 700, which powers the original version of the A330.

Mr Neves said: “This is an important moment for our airline and we look forward to entering a new era in customer service and performance with the A330neo, powered by Trent 7000 engines.”

Mr Faury said: “Handing over the first ever A330neo to a long-standing Airbus customer, TAP Air Portugal, is a very important milestone for Airbus. Through continuous innovations, the A330neo, our newest widebody aircraft, will offer maximum value and efficiency to our customers and superior comfort to their passengers. This occasion marks another step forward to meeting our industry’s goal for sustainable aviation.”

Mr Cholerton said: “We are proud to power the delivery of the A330neo and warmly congratulate both TAP Air Portugal and Airbus on this delivery milestone. We are now focused on supporting TAP Air Portugal and ensuring a smooth entry into service that demonstrates all the outstanding attributes of this aircraft.”

Infrastructure project award


Bondholder Rodgers Leask is celebrating after scooping the Infrastructure Project of the Year Award at the 2018 ProCon Leicestershire Awards ceremony for its project, the New Lubbesthorpe Sustainable Urban Extension in Northwest Leicester.

The awards celebrate excellence in Midlands Construction Projects.

The company has been involved with the project from the planning stage, providing civil, structural and environmental engineering services throughout, including infrastructure highway, drainage and SuDs strategies, detailed design and ground investigation works.

New Lubbesthorpe is a Sustainable Urban Extension in Northwest Leicestershire which covers an area of approximately 322 hectares.

Phase one, comprising primary infrastructure including over 4km of roads and drainage plus the first residential land parcels is now complete. Phase 2, covering 23 hectares is now well underway to create a district centre, further residential developments and the construction of the first of three new schools.

When fully completed, New Lubbesthorpe will feature 4,250 homes, a strategic employment park, two primary and one secondary school, mixed use district centres including retail units, health, leisure and community facilities, 75 acres of new woodland and 250 acres of open space and parkland.

City needs the ambition to match our top companies

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Last Wednesday, I attended an extraordinary event at the ever-wonderful Morley Hayes hotel.

Ostensibly it was a breakfast - hosted by the Derby Telegraph and Champions (UK) plc – celebrating the Top 200 companies in Derbyshire.

The University of Derby Business School had compiled a league table following what sounded like some serious number crunching revealing an economy worth £14.9 billion.

There was no great surprise to see that Rolls-Royce sat comfortably in the number one slot.

For over 100 years, Rolls-Royce has been synonymous with Derby and today the city hosts the world HQ of the Aerospace, Corporate and Nuclear activities of this £3bn turnover engineering behemoth.

I’ve occasionally heard it commented that we make too much of Rolls-Royce but believe me, when we are promoting the city to inward investors, saying that we are home to one of the world’s greatest business names – up there with the Amazons, Apples and Googles – quickly gets investor attention and respect.


On almost any such conversation, Rolls-Royce opens the batting. There isn’t a city in the UK – and I include London, Birmingham and Manchester – that wouldn’t give their back teeth to host what we have here in Derby.   

Needless to say, Rolls-Royce was joined in the top of the charts by the likes of Bombardier and Toyota and a few other familiar names – Bowmer and Kirkland, East Midlands Trains and Pattonair, for example – but, I was equally fascinated by the inclusion of clearly brilliant companies, that are far from being household names, operating all across the county.

Companies such as Eco-Bat, Eoth, Fannin and Senad are not names that trip off the tongue but they, and many others, are crucial to creating a balanced economic eco-system in Derbyshire.

And I say Derbyshire, as this list covered postcodes from DE1 to DE74 and of course the SK and S40 codes you get in the northwest and northeast of the county respectively.

It was good and right to celebrate, but what made the event extraordinary in my view, were the comments made from the stage by the three keynote speakers, Steve Hall from the Derby Telegraph, the University of Derby’s boss Kath Mitchell and most especially, David Williams.

David’s day job is Chairman of Geldards, a well-respected law firm with operations in Derby, Cardiff, Nottingham and London. That’s a big enough job in itself but David was speaking with some of his other hats – Chairman of the Derby Renaissance Board and the Derby-Nottingham Metro Growth Board, as well as being Deputy Chairman of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

His comments were an impassioned plea – directed at local authorities and in particular to their politicians - to engage and listen to the concerns of business.

The focus of his observation was very much Derby and the need for the city to raise its aspirations and to be open and welcoming for business, views endorsed by Steve and Kath.

The core business reality is competition and to survive and thrive, companies – such as the 200 in the list – need to continue to attract and retain talent. A key component in this is the concept of place – in other words, is the place in which we are located sufficiently attractive to the talent that we need in order to compete?

David’s fear was that, despite the fantastic work undertaken over the past ten years or so in attracting investment, the city was in danger of losing momentum, at the same time as when our competitors were stepping up their game.

His frustrations reflect an emerging wider agitation in the business community, frustrated at what is increasingly looking like an anti-development planning process, as well as the apparent lack of progress on high profile regeneration and development schemes, such as the Friar Gate Goods Yard, Becketwell, DRI and Assembly Rooms – all standing empty for 50, 11, 7 and 5 years respectively.

There may be good news on the first three of these, as business-led investments finally look like emerging in the new year, but the focus is now on the embarrassing debacle that is the Assembly Rooms.

I don’t need to rehearse the story in this column. I’ve written before on how it should never have been closed but, that now it is, we should listen to the experts who tell us that it is not fit for purpose and needs replacing.

A few weeks ago, at the Derby Renaissance Board, business patience finally snapped. Hearing that Derby City Council is about to spend £20m plus on reopening the loss-making Assembly Rooms, as opposed to building a new profit-making performance venue, at twice the size for twice the price, was simply too much.

It was a genuinely passionate debate with a rare consensus that the refurbishment was ‘underwhelming’, would create a ‘village hall’, fit for ‘a market town, not a city’ and fundamentally will not attract the performances required. A delegation from the DRB will soon be meeting the City Leader to express these concerns.      

Which brings me back to the top 200 at the beginning of this piece.

Derby and Derbyshire is a hub for many fantastic businesses but we must not take them for granted and, more than that, we need to do all we can to ensure we shape a place that has the ambition and aspiration to support their enterprise.

800-home city living scheme unveiled


BJD Investors and Developers have submitted plans for a revised Nightingale Quarter on the site of the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary.

After purchasing the site earlier this year, BJD were quick to outline their ambitions for the DRI, focusing on delivery of a high-quality residential neighbourhood. Plans have now been submitted which are expected to be determined at Planning Committee on the 14th February 2019. If successful, work will commence in August 2019, with the first homes available in autumn 2020.

James Dickens, founder of BJD, is excited by the opportunity provided by the site and believes the ambitious timeline is achievable following initial conversations with Bondholder Derby City Council and Marketing Derby. He said, “Derby City Council and Marketing Derby have been a pleasure to work with, their pragmatic approach and can-do attitude has been greatly received by us as a developer.”


Two iconic Pepper Pot buildings still remain on the site and BJD have decided to make both buildings a key feature of the scheme. Other historical features of the site will be refurbished and restored, including the five villas opposite Hartington Street, following constructive consultation with the Conservation Officer.

James said, “Both pepper pots will be retained for community use such as cafes/gyms, exhibition space or visitor centres. We understand the sensitivity and importance of these local landmarks as the hospital played a pivotal role in the city and we want them to be enjoyed by all.”

The site is now expected to incorporate close to 800 new homes. Following consultation, BJD have decided against including retail on the site to ensure the Nightingale Quarter adds a sizeable economic benefit to businesses already established in the local area.

The Nightingale Quarter is also set to be labelled as a “green oasis” in the city centre, according to James. He said, “We have been working with Derby City Council’s planning team to create an environment which encourages an active lifestyle comprising cycle routes, promenades, open air gym fitness areas, children’s play areas and lots of substantial planting running through the main axis of the site. As a result we feel the scheme will have a much greater positive impact on the city than originally planned.”


John Forkin, Managing Director of inward investment agency, Marketing Derby said, "This is an important step in bringing forward development of one of the largest city centre regeneration sites in the country. The Nightingale Quarter will be a desirable residential location in Derby city centre and, providing planning deadlines are met, should be developed at pace. I look forward to seeing this important part of Derby's past becoming a vital community asset for its future too."

“BJD have already made a commitment to long term investment in Derby by becoming a Marketing Derby Bondholder and we look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.”

Bondholder Rigby & Co, who originally sold the site for the NHS to Nightingale Quarter Estates, then assisted in the sale to BJD. Russell Rigby, Managing Director of Rigby & Co commented: “BJD are an excellent fit for this site, they are all about delivery and the time is absolutely right to bring this site forward.”

All eyes on the ABE


We know Christmas may just be round the corner but we're already looking forward to the Marketing Derby Annual Business Event 2019.

Held at Derby Theatre, we invite you to join us for a vibrant mix of films and presentations from special guest speakers at the city’s biggest business event of the year.

John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby, said: "We value the support of our Bondholders and kick off each year with some reflections, aspirations and a few surprises."

Jon Eno, Managing Director of Hot House Music, will be taking up the gauntlet in the 'Dare to Dream slot'.

This year’s event will be on the 18th January 2019 between 7:30am and 9:30am.

To book your place click here.

5 years continuous growth for Frogspark

It’s been a successful year for Bondholder Digital Agency Frogspark.

Posting a 37% revenue growth between October 2017 to October 2018; which makes it five years in a row of consecutive financial growth.

Managing Director Robert Twells said: “This year’s growth is particularly pleasing for us as it has also seen us add five new members to our team. This has enabled us to take the business to a new level and we feel this sets us up for an even stronger year in 2019.”

2018 has seen Frogspark work with clients based in all corners of the UK, which has resulted in a significant increase in enquiries from other major cities, but they are just as proud of the work they have been involved in closer to home.

One of the contracts the company has won this year was design and develop the new website for Bondholder Derby Cathedral Quarter.

Co-Founder and Development Director Liam Nelson said “Being a Derby based company that isn’t based in the Cathedral Quarter, we felt privileged and very excited to be given the responsibility of designing and building what we hoped would be the perfect platform for businesses to be able to promote their events and offer; as well as showcasing to the public the many fantastic businesses that have so much to offer.".

Ashley Lewis, Senior BID Project Manager for the Derby Cathedral Quarter at Partnerships for Better Business Ltd said “From start to finish it has been a pleasure working with the team at Frogspark. Whatever our requirements, they have proved to be professional and knowledgeable in all aspects of design and maintenance and have been extremely helpful throughout.”

Derby College buddies Microsoft

Bondholder Derby College has been chosen by IT giants Microsoft as one of the first globally to become a Showcase College.

This is a new global education programme launched by Microsoft and is an extension to the company’s global network of institutions using technology to improve teaching and learning.

Showcase schools and colleges are supported by the company to focus on personalised learning for students through the use of one-to-one devices and Office 365 Education, Office Mix, OneNote, Skype, Minecraft and more. They also share ideas and are given the opportunity to host educational events.

Derby College Director of IT Ian McCormick said: “We are honoured to be chosen to be part of this prestigious programme.

“As a Microsoft Showcase College, we will benefit from billions of pounds of research and knowledge that we would never usually have access to.

“Every PC user in the world has Microsoft tools, and every job that young people apply for will require them to use Word, PowerPoint and Excel so embedding these systems as well as digital skills and capabilities into our teaching and learning is vital for all our students.”

Tina Jones, UK Education Engagement Manager at Microsoft, added: “We recently held a two-day session for our Showcase Schools and Colleges which was a tremendous success.

“It was an amazing opportunity for our team to share updates on Accessibility, STEM, Apprenticeships, Azure and plan together for the future as well as learning from these amazing institutions on how they have achieved such inspirational digital transformation in their school or college.”