Bondholder business owners and key stakeholders from across the city are throwing their support behind plans for the regeneration of Becketwell.
An outline planning application has been submitted by Leeds-based developer St James Securities, comments on the scheme are being accepted and businesses are backing the plans.
Letters of support have been received in favour from Bondholders including Smith Partnership, Smith Cooper, CWC Group, Derby QUAD, JSA Architects, BB&J, David Brown Commercial, Cathedral Quarter BID, Wathall's, Staton Young, Nielsen McAllister, Salloway Property Consultants and Compendium Living.
John Forkin of Marketing Derby says: “This is a one-off opportunity to tackle the single biggest regeneration priority for the city, and if plans are not approved it is likely it will remain derelict and neglected for decades.
“It is imperative that Derby continues to revitalise the centre to deliver Derby City Council’s Masterplan. The proposed Becketwell regeneration improves vibrancy, brings derelict buildings and vacant land back into use and supports the city centre economy, whilst relieving pressure on green belt land. There are no other viable, fundable proposals that could bring about the transformation this site so desperately needs.”
Phase one of the regeneration scheme comprises of plans for 342 Build to Rent apartments on the site of the former Debenhams store on Victoria Street and a new public square on the site of the current United Reform Church.
The residential development will comprise of two buildings, the tallest of which will extend up to 19 storeys in height. This building will contain 246 apartments over a ground floor café and restaurant overlooking the new square. The smaller building will house 96 apartments with a convenience store at ground floor fronting Victoria Street.
The outline planning application is supported by a request to include a range of other complementary uses of the site, including up to 25,000m2 of new grade A offices, innovation centre and leisure to complement the residential and a planned multi-storey car park, with a smaller courtyard public square called Summerhill Yard to reflect that part of the site’s historic street name.
Kevin McGrath, managing partner of the Smith Partnership says “St James Securities have put forward an exciting vision for Derby’s longest-standing and most in need, regeneration site. Whilst the outline element gives a flavour of what could happen, the detailed submission for close to 300 apartments on the Debenhams site is a concrete plan that represents a major step forward for Becketwell.”
Andrew Bock, director of developers CWC comments "For in excess of 10 years we have had to cope in an area that has been in decline ever since the Debenhams department store closed. These proposals represent the best chance to regenerate this immediate area and offer our buildings, and neighbouring buildings, the best chance to attract new tenants and encourage the population of Derby back into the area.”
David Nelson, senior partner at accountants Smith Cooper adds "The Becketwell area has become a mecca for anti-social behaviour, feels unsafe and is a very poor advertisement for a City Centre that is trying to regenerate itself and attract investment. The proposed development would, I believe, breathe much needed life into the City Centre and hopefully convince future investment.
Dave Bullock, managing director of Compendium Living, developers of the Castleward scheme in Derby says “It is very heartening for Derby that an investor has the vision, appetite and capacity to take on such a challenging strategic site, and I am convinced that SJS’s design approach, with its local influences and bold city vernacular, will prove transformational, and that the mixed uses proposed will bring a significant economic injection to a part of the city that has been crying out for it for years.”
To submit your comments on the Becketwell planning application, citing the benefits that a revitalisation of this area of the city centre would bring for the surrounding businesses and community, please email Developmentcontrol@derby.gov.uk.