Latest News | 4 July 2024

Look out Manchester, Derby is getting its act together

Alstom (formerly Bombardier)
The Yard Derby
Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd
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My major headline for June, well, at least for me personally, was the fact that my wife and I managed to have our first night away together since the birth of our son.

We went to Manchester to see Romesh Ranganathan (he was brilliant, by the way).

It’s funny, ever since joining Marketing Derby I’ve looked at other cities in a different way.

I scan the horizon to see whether they have cranes on the skyline, I stop to admire new developments, I observe how they’ve tried to (or in some cases not) blend the old with the new – and I check out how busy the shops and pubs are.

As far as Manchester city centre is concerned, I’d not visited since I went to see a Manic Street Preachers gig back in the late 1990s.

Goodness me how its changed. All my old points of reference had disappeared, replaced by shiny glass skyscrapers.

Of course, I’m not going to sit here and write loads of stuff about how brilliant Manchester is. Suffice to say, we had a very nice time – albeit an expensive one.

London prices have very much arrived in Manchester I thought, as I slowly sipped at my £11 glass of red wine.

Then there were the travelling costs, the parking, the hotel room, the restaurant.

Throughout the whole weekend, I had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind, which was this: “Isn’t it a shame I’ve had to travel all the way to Manchester to see Romesh? I’d much rather be spending my money in Derby.”

Of course, Derby already welcomes the likes of Jimmy Carr and Sarah Millican – but it would be great if we were able to attract more big-name acts.

With any luck, we shouldn’t have long to wait. Next year, the new multi-million-pound performance venue in Becketwell will open its doors operated by ASM Global (the same people who operate the Ao Arena in Manchester, where I went to see Romesh).

The new performance venue represents a golden opportunity for Derby to supercharge our existing offer – and a chance for the city, particularly the neighbourhood surrounding the venue, to up its game.

This is something that provides the focus for our latest edition of Innovate Magazine.

You should’ve had yours through your door by now. If not, you can read a digital version here.

The performance venue is just one of many major new schemes set to come online in 2025 – dubbed Derby’s ‘olympic’ year.

Those schemes are set to provide the focus for the Derby Property Summit, which takes place next week.

It will feature a superb line-up of keynote speakers and panellists, who will not only talk about Derby’s direction of travel, but also provide some interesting analysis and insight.

Hundreds of people have already signed up to attend – so make sure you don’t miss out!

I also have another call to action for you. Last month, the Marketing Derby Food and Drink Awards were launched.

The awards are our annual celebration of Derby’s food and drink scene.

Last year, we received a record 5,000-plus nominations – and we’re hoping to surpass that figure this year.

So, if you’ve got a favourite restaurant, pub or café, make sure you put them forward for the recognition they deserve.

One place I’m looking forward to having a bite to eat is The Yard Derby -the new outdoor artisan food and beverage offer at St Peter’s Churchyard, which in June was finally given the go-ahead by the city council.

Staying on the subject of food, it was also great to report on the arrival of Greggs to Derby.

No, it’s not another outlet – the food-on-the-go giant is opening a new state-of-the-art frozen production and logistics facility at SmartParc SEGRO Derby, which will create up to 600 jobs.

It’s going to be a sizeable structure – and over on the other side of the city, another huge building is set to rise out of the ground at Infinity Park Derby.

In June, it was announced that Bowmer + Kirkland had started work on Derby 507, a 500,000-plus sq ft logistics building, which could create up to 1,000 jobs.

Infinity Park Derby is just a stone’s throw away from Rolls-Royce’s civil aerospace division, where things appear to be running very smoothly.

In June, the engineering giant reported that it had made a “strong start” to the year.

In a trading update published ahead of its AGM, the firm, which has its civil aerospace and defence divisions in Derby, said it saw growth across its sectors.

Meanwhile, Toyota Manufacturing UK issued a progress update on its development of a hydrogen-powered Hilux.

The firm, which is developing the vehicle at its Burnaston plant, announced that it had now moved into the final testing phase.

And, finally, I blew a rather large sigh of relief when the third of our manufacturing ‘big guns’ – Alstom – confirmed it had penned a £370 million deal for new trains, which would secure the future of its Litchurch Lane plant.

So, I reckon, with all these positive stories knocking around, we have more things to smile about here in Derby than a Romesh Ranganathan gig.

Anyway, have a safe and productive July and I look forward to catching up again with you soon.

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