Latest News | 24 August 2023

Proud to be be playing our part in Derby’s ‘residential revolution’

Derby City Council
Cathedral Quarter Co Ltd
Clowes Developments
Alstom (formerly Bombardier)
Wavensmere Homes
Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd
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Back in 2019, Wavensmere Homes secured its first regeneration site in Derby – and has continued to make further investments in the city ever since.

The developer is set to deliver 1,500 homes across four locations in Derby – including its £175 million Nightingale Quarter scheme – one of the city’s major urban regeneration projects.

Here, in her own words, Donna Smith, sales director at Wavensmere Homes, explains more about the opportunities the firm saw in Derby and why it believes it’s an “incredible” city for property investment.

Picture: Ian Hodgkinson / Picture It

Over the past few years, Derby has welcomed £4 billion of investment into the city – and is amid a ‘residential revolution’, as Councillor Baggy Shanker, the leader of Derby City Council, described it at this year’s Derby Property Summit.

I’m proud to be a huge part of that in my role with Wavensmere Homes.

There are many contributing factors to Derby’s boom.

It goes without saying that Marketing Derby is doing a brilliant job of raising the profile of the region having secured so much investment.

We’ve also got the benefit of several high-profile businesses in the immediate area, such as Rolls-Royce, Toyota, Alstom and JCB. Derby is also the new home of Great British Railways.

These organisations bring highly skilled job opportunities and a workforce looking for commutable homes.

With thousands of new jobs forecast for the future, a university student population, and the commutability factor (not to mention the potential benefits that HS2 rail links will add) it’s no wonder Derby is proving so popular.

Just last year, Derby saw the UK’s fifth highest house price inflation, with prices rising by 15.8%.

Despite this, the affordability of homes and abundance of rental investment opportunities are drawing in buyers, renters, and landlords alike.

Not only is this investment drawing in new people and businesses, but it’s also bringing new life into areas for the existing community to benefit from too.

We specialise in regeneration and placemaking, so for us it’s so much more than just building homes.

Our focus is on reanimating brownfield sites to create new communities.

That’s why we have invested £175 million into our Nightingale Quarter regeneration scheme.

The redevelopment of the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary site is not only delivering 925 new apartments and houses, but also the regeneration and restoration of the two iconic Grade II Listed ‘Pepper Pot’ buildings to provide amenities for the new and existing community to enjoy.

When we launched the scheme, we saw an unprecedented influx of interest, and this hasn’t tapered off.

This year we are constructing five phases simultaneously to keep up with buyer and rental demand.

Currently over 80% of the homes are matched with buyers.

There’s been a real mix, with first time buyers securing their foot on the housing ladder with an apartment priced from £185,000 to second steppers and downsizers looking for a new home in their beloved city of Derby.

We’ve also had several investors purchase properties with rental yields well over 5%.

The location of Nightingale Quarter is a huge draw for many, it’s just moments from the city centre enabling great public transport links for those working in and around Derby.

It’s also just a five-minute walk to the train station where commuters can hop on a quick train to Birmingham, Nottingham or London making Derby a really viable location to buy or rent for people working in those cities.

Building new homes sometimes has the misconception that the developer will come in, bulldoze over the site, and get to work building new homes with a lack of care for the area, the existing community, and what more can be done to reanimate.

For Wavensmere Homes, if a site has a historic past, maintaining that rich history is so important.

We’ve worked painstakingly to retain the ‘Pepper Pot’ buildings and we’re excited for the independent gastro restaurant ‘The Pepperpot’, run by The Fulton Partnership, to open in November.

It sits pride of place at the front of the development, and we hope it will become the heart and soul of the community here.

An iconic statue of Queen Victoria is also being carefully restored and located to the site entrance, to pay homage to its historic past.

There’s also six acres of green open space, cycle paths, an outdoor children’s play area and an outdoor gym for the whole community to use and enjoy.

One of our buyers at Nightingale Quarter has the most wonderful story which brings to life the commutability and the importance of regeneration.

Jon relocated from Kennington, in South London, to get himself onto the property ladder in his hometown of Derby.

This wasn’t the only reason Nightingale Quarter had such appeal, as he explained, he was born in the Derby Royal Infirmary so for him seeing the history preserved and our considerate transformation was a real draw.

He has been able to come back home to a place he loves but still easily get into the office in London when he needs to.

We’re a Birmingham-based developer and we know that opportunities in regional cities like Derby are a great alternative to London and the South East as the projects are much more deliverable.

We wanted to build on the success of Nightingale Quarter and the relationships we have built with the Derby community and saw further opportunities to bring more investment into the city.

Just outside of the city centre, we’ve been busy constructing our Milford Mills scheme, near Belper.

It’s another fascinating historic site which dates to 1780. Along with the provision of 69 homes, we’re again doing some historic restoration, including to the mill building, a 40-metre-tall chimney and a lade for a hydro-electric mill that is being opened up and exposed to preserve its place in history.

There will also be retail and leisure facilities. It’s about making communities within communities that complement each other and offer something new for everyone.

Collaboration is key and we know how important that is in Derby to support its continued growth.

As a developer, it’s great to work with and get to know the local communities and other companies who have a vested interest in growing Derby.

Being part of Marketing Derby has enhanced that and it’s been brilliant getting to know our fellow Bondholders.

Wavensmere Homes also has further collaboration developments coming up in the city.

We’re incredibly excited to have been chosen as the developer to collaboratively partner with Clowes Developments to bring forward development proposals for the historic landmark, Friar Gate Goods Yard in central Derby.

We’ll again be proposing a mix of homes and a significant element of mixed-use commercial space as part of the restoration of the two historic buildings on site; the Grade II listed Bonded Warehouse and Engine House.

This is another great project that will bring so much more life and opportunity into the city centre.

While in the newly revitalised Cathedral Quarter we’ve struck a deal with Wilson Bowden Developments to deliver a new apartment scheme along the River Derwent.

Vision revealed for major riverside apartments scheme – Marketing Derby

We’re pleased to be part of this iconic regeneration project in such a prime location.

Picture: Ian Hodgkinson / Picture It

With over 1,500 properties under construction or in planning in Derby we have fine-tuned what occupiers want, creating desirable, modern high EPC rated homes to suit modern living.

This also ensures our buy-to-let purchasers secure residents who want to make a medium to long-term commitment to live in a high-quality home and thriving community.

It’s all about making Derby a place of choice not convenience, and we really believe our developments are a great step forward in helping to achieve that.

As we heard at the recent Derby Property Summit, Derby was named as the best ‘all-rounder’ for growth in the May PwC Good Growth for Cities Index.

The job opportunities, affordability and community feel really do make it a desirable place to call home and therefore a great place to invest.

We’re certainly looking forward to continuing to grow here and hope to be making a difference in Derby for many more years to come.

*Wavensmere Homes is set to hold a special Bondholder breakfast event at Pride Park Stadium on Tuesday 19 September. For more information visit Events | Marketing Derby.

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