Latest News | 13 July 2022

‘Green enlightenment’ and ‘devolution’ key to Derby’s future

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This year, the Derby Property Summit welcomed some influential names among its list of speakers – Sir Tim Smitt KBE, co-founder of the Eden Project and Lord O’Neill, vice-chair of the Northern Powerhouse Workshop.

Both of them recorded videos especially for the summit’s audience, which contained messages for Derby’s leaders as they plan its future.

Sir Tim was the driving force behind the Eden Project, near St Austell, in Cornwall, an £80 million initiative to build two transparent biomes, containing different eco-climates, in an old china clay pit.

Opened in 2001, Eden aims to educate people about environmental matters and encourages a greater understanding and empathy with these issues
Recently he has teamed up with Down to Earth Derby to back its vision for a nature-led regeneration of Derby.

In his speech, Sir Tim said it was fitting that a city famous for its role in The Enlightenment should be at the forefront of a ‘Green Enlightenment’.

Addressing the Derby Property Summit, he said: “We believe you have a city with marvellous bones and the most fantastic river.

“There are some sites that may have seen better days, but they offer an opportunity for re-imagining Derby for the future.

“I would say to our friends in Derby who are interested in the property sphere let’s get together and explore whether we can come up with the most extraordinary masterplan ever imagined in any city in Europe.”

Lord O’Neill has been closely involved in work to balance the country’s economic growth through his work with the Northern Powerhouse.

In his address to the Derby Property Summit, he had three key messages for delegates, which could help shape Derby’s future.

He said: “The thing to really seize the opportunity on is the whole issue of devolution.

“As we have seen in my own hometown of Greater Manchester, if you really have people with ambition and leaders who want to have accountability to go with it you can start to make a difference.

“I am a big, big fan of Derby teaming up with Nottingham, despite your rivalry, and seizing this unique opportunity to make a permanent difference to your future.

“The second thing is what is your magical DNA? A lot of people around the country when they come talking to me about how they want something to make them a better place often don’t think about anything other than the fact they used to have a proud history. It’s not good enough.

“In order to really seize the opportunity to make people want to come to Derby and base their lives there, make yourselves think about what you have to offer the world that makes you such an interesting place.

“Which takes me to the third issue. Derby is probably in a better position than many places because you already have some world-class companies that are based there.

“It gives you a platform that a lot of other places who have ambition don’t have.”

To watch the Derby Property Summit click here.

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