Plans to regenerate Derby city centre have taken a big leap forward after Derby City Council announced its preferred strategic development partner.
A partnership made up of VINCI Developments UK and ION Developments have been invited to work with the city council to develop more detailed plans for the cultural heart of the city.
Among the initial plans is a revitalised ‘cultural quarter’, which includes a new cultural, commercial, and creative public space, which will be located on the site of the former Assembly Rooms.
Councillor Nadine Peatfield, the city council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for city centre, regeneration, culture and tourism, said: “Derby is a city of growth and economic significance, representing a regional economy of around £15 billion, but despite all this our city centre does not reflect our status as an industry leader.
“We’re on a journey to transform Derby into a vibrant city centre with culture at its heart, creating a go-to destination which not only attracts visitors from outside of the city but also offers an affordable place for our citizens to enjoy.
“Attracting potential strategic development partners such as VINCI and ION is a huge step forward in bringing this ambitious vision to life.
“Both VINCI and ION hold a wealth of knowledge and experience and we’re very much looking forward to working with them on plans for our city centre’s exciting future.”
It was back in early 2023 when the council first announced its intention to work with an experienced development partner to create a cohesive masterplan for the regeneration of several important city centre locations.
Following an expression of interest process and procurement exercise through the Pagabo Developer Led Framework, VINCI and ION have been invited to develop detailed plans.
Over the coming months the partnership will work collaboratively with the council, businesses and community stakeholders to develop their vision and design for the regeneration of the city centre.
The revitalised ‘cultural quarter’ plan will offer a range of leisure, commercial and community facilities, connected to a new business and residential district, incorporating the Bold Lane area and Northern Quarter.
The plans for the former Assembly Rooms site involve a multi-functional building, with spaces for meeting, working, and creating above restaurant and commercial space, to enhance the city centre offer.
The plans are set in a redesigned and enhanced Market Place, which will become a focal point for the city and will create new and improved green spaces, including ‘pocket parks’ to support relaxation and wellbeing.
The scheme also aims to create ‘green and blue corridors’ to improve connectivity between open spaces, such as Cathedral Green and the River Derwent and encourage more active travel across the city centre to underline the city’s net zero ambitions.
Steve Parry, managing director at ION Developments, said: “We’re delighted to be selected alongside VINCI Developments to work up these exciting plans for Derby City Council and the people and businesses of Derby.
“Together, we will use our extensive experience to create a thriving city centre location that offers a blend of cultural, community, and commercial space to meet Derby’s needs, both now and long into the future.”
Graham Lambert, managing director at VINCI UK Developments, said: “Derby as a city has much to offer and potential to be harnessed.
“We share the ambition of the council, the local community and businesses, in seeking to revitalise the cultural core of the city.
“The council has laid the foundation for this, and we will create community-led assets, flexible and diverse spaces and a quality business district that compliments the inward investment in the city.
“We are proud to be chosen by the council as partner for this important strategic project and look forward to working collaboratively with the council and local stakeholders.”