Latest News | 15 July 2020

Panel of prospects

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Bondholders Maber, Smith Partnership, St James Securities and Urban Sister gave their unique insights and perspectives on the shaping of Derby city centre post-Covid.

The panel of Bondholders with a range of place and property expertise gave their thoughts on Derby’s prospects beyond 2020.

Steve Basran at Maber Architects predicts a rapid change to the built environment in the next five years, to create great spaces which people want to experience. His vision is one of mixed density, including “a small, granular and messy” urban offer (e.g. street food, cycle hubs, outdoor markets) to help create the city centre culture and have a positive impact on forging a community spirit. Deregulation and a clear direction of travel were key messages he left attendees with.

As a Board member at fellow Bondholder the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District, as well as partner at law firm Smith Partnership based in the city centre, Fraser Cunningham highlighted the need to redefine the true heart of Derby, to give it a better focus. He was also keen to ensure the views of younger generations were heard in taking the city forward out of the pandemic.


An investment perspective was given by Ruth Hobbs, Director at Urban Sister which is investing in Derby city centre with an interest in high-end residential conversions. She said: “The main problem we face as a micro-developer is the lack of property to buy with rows of properties in the city centre owned by absentee landlords. We can’t have this situation going forward; we need to get more people living and working in the centre.”

This was echoed by Paul Morris, Development Director at St James Securities – the Leeds-based developer working with Derby City Council on plans to transform the Becketwell area of the city centre, including a new 3,500 seater performance venue, new public square, apartments, office and hotel. He said: “We see the plans for Becketwell as being the new beating heart for Derby city centre, and the starting point for the regeneration of the wider area. It will give others the confidence to pick up the mantle.”

Overall, the pandemic was seen by the Bondholders as an opportunity for positive change, to find local solutions and to develop new ways of thinking to tackle the challenges it posed.


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