Latest News | 4 August 2021

Confidence is coming home…even if football isn’t!

St James Securities
St Peters Quarter Business Improvement District
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Here, in his latest monthly column reflecting on the news over the past month, our Press and PR Executive Robin Johnson looks at the headlines.

If only we could bottle it and sell it, we’d all be multi-millionaires’.

No, I’m not talking about the Peckham Spring Water from that episode of Only Fools and Horses I recently saw a rerun of on the telly.

I am, of course, talking about confidence.

Confidence is a word I kept hearing and seeing throughout July – whether it was written in a new survey, spoken at a business event or emanating from the mouth of England manager Gareth Southgate.

It is amazing where confidence (and a generous dollop of talent) can take you.

In the case of the England football team, it took them all the way to their first major tournament final in 55 years. That match seems like a lifetime ago now, doesn’t it?

So, while football isn’t coming home (I like to think it has been told to self-isolate until next year’s World Cup) confidence is certainly very much taking root here in Derby.

You only have to take a look at the headlines throughout July to realise that following the trauma of the lockdowns and their economic impact (15 months of hurt, to misquote Baddiel and Skinner) Derby is facing the future with positivity.

The Derby Property Summit, skilfully organised by my colleagues here at Marketing Derby, is always a decent barometer in terms of gauging where the city’s confidence levels are at.

And it was encouraging to hear that the main driver behind the city’s ongoing regeneration was continued investor confidence.

And that wasn’t us saying that – we heard it straight from the horses’ mouths, from representatives from two of the city’s key investors, Cale Street, owners of Derbion and St James Securities, the firm delivering the £200 million Becketwell development.

Becketwell, Derby

You can watch the Derby Property Summit right here.

So, what other evidence is there to suggest that Derby is developing a Liam Gallagher-esque swagger (I remember many of my age group trying to copy his distinctive walk when Oasis were at the height of their powers in the 1990s).

If you take a walk down one street in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter (maybe in the style of Liam Gallagher if the mood takes you) you will find that reports of the death of the high street have been greatly exaggerated.

I don’t know how The Strand in London is doing – but the one in Derby appears to be doing very nicely, thank you, with full occupancy of all its units. (Read the full story here.)

This particular area of Derby is poised for a major renaissance (at long last) thanks to the Becketwell regeneration scheme.

While the gestation period was lengthy, this particular project now appears to be making up for lost time – with July seeing a frenetic amount of activity.

Firstly, we had the official start of work on phase one of the scheme, to construct 259 build-to-rent apartments and create a new public square. (Read the full story here.)

A huge tower crane is now in place at the site – and you don’t get much better than that when it comes to symbolising confidence in the city’s future.

Becketwell, Derby

Meanwhile, a massive amount of work was being put in to prepare for the second phase, which involves creating a new 3,500-capacity performance venue.

A public consultation was held to gain views on the scheme ahead of a planning application being submitted – and the reception for it, like the applause that will hopefully reverberate around its interior sometime in the future when the big-name acts play in it, was decidedly warm and rapturous. (Read the full story here.)

Maybe one day Liam Gallagher himself will one day swagger down The Strand on his way to perform at the new venue. You never know.

Also in July, Derby City Council submitted a £20 million bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, to contribute to the delivery of the new venue. (Read the full story here.)

And, finally, we had the news that, following the public consultation, the plans for the performance venue are now in and awaiting approval. (Read the full story here.)

Another development where confidence is brimming is the Nightingale Quarter – the 800-home scheme on the former DRI site.

Things are really moving here – or rather people are moving in here – as properties are being snapped up at a rate of knots.

So much so that the developer, Wavensmere Homes, has now moved on to phase two, which involves creating new apartments in a building called Strutt House. (Read the full story here.)

Nightingale Quarter

Meanwhile, on the other side of London Road, the £100 million regeneration of Castleward is moving along nicely.

Elevate Property Group announced it had secured permission to build 258 apartments in the Liversage Street area of Castleward. (Read the full story here.)

At the same time, Compendium Living, the company, which has delivered the lion’s share of new developments in Castleward, announced it had started work on phase three of its scheme. (Read the full story here.)

So, added all together, here we have several major investors ploughing hundreds of millions into Derby, despite what the last 15 months has thrown at us. That shows real confidence.

However, what I really think encapsulates where Derby’s head is at right now is its bid to become the City of Culture in 2025. (Read the full story here.)

Whether we win or not, bids like this show ambition. It shows we have the confidence to at least throw our hat into the ring. And when you see what we can do with something like the Museum of Making, why the hell not?

A number of partners are involved in the bid. Partnership working is key to Derby’s future success. Choosing the right partners is equally so.


We saw a great example of that in July when Derby City Council announced it had partnered with Toyota Manufacturing UK to develop mobility solutions of the future. (Read the full story here.)

Toyota is a world leader in terms of pioneering new mobility solutions – and not just cars.

It makes an enormous amount of sense for the city to be working with them (the Burnaston factory is just down the road) as it looks at ways to decarbonise, which is one of the main strands of its economic strategy.

But as well as working with giants like Toyota, the city council is also looking to work with up-and-coming firms – and support them in their growth.

In July, we saw the official launch of the £5 million Ascend programme – designed to support the innovation and growth of local businesses. (Read the full story here.)

Among the businesses helped so far is doughnut firm Project D – the Derby-based bakery, which now supplies its products across the country.

It is run by three young entrepreneurs – all of whom had the confidence to launch a business and grow it.

Rightly so, they are among the nominees for the GB Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, along with the perpetually youthful Ed Hollands from fellow Bondholder DrivenMedia. (Read the full story here.)

Project D

Derby needs these young entrepreneurs. They are our future business leaders.

They have the confidence to take the risks – which, if they come off, can benefit so many, creating new jobs and boosting our economy.

Which brings me, in a roundabout way, back to football – and the three young men who had the confidence to take a penalty in the Euros final – but sadly missed.

You need confidence and bravery just to step up to the penalty spot in those situations. You also need those very same qualities to be an entrepreneur.

And like any good entrepreneur, those players will dust themselves down, reset and go again – just as Derby, as a city, is doing, following Covid.

So, yes, I am confident about the future – and that goes for England’s prospects at next year’s World Cup too!

Anyway, that’s enough from me. Have a safe and productive August and I look forward to catching up with you again soon.

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