Latest News | 12 July 2022

How uncovering Derby’s hidden depths could boost city

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In the latest edition of Marketing Derby’s Innovate magazine, we delve deep beneath Derby’s streets to find out how a hidden waterway could play a key role in boosting the city’s environmental and economic ambitions.

A design and engineering consultant’s report, commissioned by Derby City Council, shows how buried parts of Markeaton Brook, running under the heart of the city centre, could be exposed to create a dramatic new ‘water feature’ and environmental corridor.

Supporters of the idea, of which there are many, believe it would attract visitors to the area, support wildlife and could even persuade more businesses to locate to the city centre.

One of the sections that the report’s authors, Atkins, say could be exposed is in Victoria Street.

In place of a road, Atkins says the flowing waters of the brook could be revealed with a new streetscape and planting introduced to create a ‘blue and green’ attraction.

A second section could be revealed at Osnabruck Square, where there is also an opportunity to introduce walkways, terraced seating and planting areas running down to the water course and, potentially, an outdoor performance area or ‘pocket park’.

Simon Ward, UK head of landscape architecture at Atkins, is one of those who has contributed to the Derby study.

He told Innovate magazine: “Since the Covid pandemic, people have really been valuing their external green and blue surroundings and simply want more of them.

“We are now involved in a number of projects across the UK where people are looking at the creation of more natural city spaces with re-wilding, the introduction of green space and the uncovering of hidden watercourses.

“People are attracted to water. The fact there’s something below the ground they weren’t even aware of, which we can bring to life, radically reinvent, perhaps taking something that was two or three lanes of cars and buses and turn it into exciting, pedestrian-focused public realm, which has waterside space and planting – that’s exciting and the kind of idea that can really help bring people back into towns and city centres.”

To read the full article in the latest Innovate magazine click here.

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