Latest News | 28 June 2023

Huge step forward for film studios plan at redundant factory

Derby City Council
Geldards Law Firm
Rigby & Co
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Plans to breathe new life into a redundant factory on the edge of Derby city centre have taken a massive step forward.

Damien Walters Limited, working in conjunction with MARV, has completed the purchase of the 80,000 sq ft former Aida Bliss factory, in City Road, Chester Green, from Derby City Council.

Plans will now be submitted to transform the building into a gym, film studios and stunt training academy, with a new world-class rehabilitation centre for elite sports participants and the wider stunt industry.

Councillor Nadine Peatfield, the city council’s cabinet member for city centre, regeneration, culture and tourism, said: “These are ambitious plans which, if approved, will bring welcome diversification to the city economy, and create exciting jobs and opportunities for the people of Derby.”

Damien Walters said: “We are absolutely delighted to have concluded the purchase of this property, and I’d like to pay huge thanks to all the people working on both sides of the deal for all their hard work.”

With temporary planning permission already in place for part of the building, a detailed planning application will be submitted shortly to fully repurpose the site with construction work expected to begin towards the end of this year.

The proposal puts forward that Derby City Gymnastics Club and Gym will relocate from Chapel Street with a stunt training academy to be incorporated into the new gym.

Three film studios are to be created within the older part of the building, which runs the length of City Road.

The final phase involves the delivery of the rehabilitation centre.

Damien Walters said: “We have already been rehearsing one major movie in the building and anticipate further rehearsal and production work to take place over the summer and into autumn, when we hope to secure planning to then deliver the first phase of the major building project at the beginning of next year.”

The sale of the building follows 12 months of detailed work between the city council and a team of locally-based consultants working with Damien Walters.

Damien Walters Limited was represented in the deal by Rigby & Co, working with Geldards. Derby City Council was represented by Freeths.

Russell Rigby, managing director of Rigby & Co, who brokered the deal, said: “We have been working hard for the past three years to try and secure the very best fit in terms of property, to enable Damien and the wider team to deliver something that once complete, will be truly jaw dropping.

“This level of investment in the mixed-use property will launch Derby onto the global map for film production and stunt training.”

Councillor Peatfield said: “We are working hard to build a really healthy, proud and vibrant Derby and this investment is great news.

“It’s a positive show of confidence in the city and its people.”

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