Latest News | 3 May 2023

Reinventing Derby’s historic sites could be our crowning glory

SureScreen Diagnostics Limited
Derby Arena
St. Modwen Logistics
Clowes Developments
Wavensmere Homes
St Peters Quarter Business Improvement District
Cathedral Quarter Co Ltd
Reach Events
YMCA Derbyshire
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Here, in his latest monthly column reflecting on the news over the past month, our Press and PR Executive Robin Johnson looks at the headlines.

Well, here we are on the eve of yet another historic day in our nation’s history – the Coronation of King Charles III and the Queen Consort.

I hope you all have your celebrations lined up – whether you are watching on the box on the day, making sandwiches and cakes for The Big Lunch on Sunday or preparing to roll your sleeves up and make a contribution to your community for The Big Help Out on Monday.

I certainly know where I will be when the Coronation ceremony takes place – halfway up the A1, heading towards the beaches and castles of Northumberland. Yes, I know, not very patriotic.

In my defence, I did book this holiday long before a date was announced (I do wish the Palace would have the decency to consult me first!).

Anyway, it promises to be an occasion filled with much joy and celebration (the Coronation, not my holiday – well, depends on the weather).

A Marketing Derby Bondholder that was celebrating well before this weekend was SureScreen Diagnostics.

In April, it was announced that the diagnostic tests manufacturer had scooped not one – but two King’s Awards for Enterprise.

They are regarded as the highest accolade that can be bestowed on any business – and our heartiest congratulations go to the entire team at SureScreen.

During the pandemic, the firm’s expertise came to the fore, developing Covid-19 lateral flow tests, which were adopted by the UK Government – and exported around the world.

All this was done from SureScreen’s base here in Derby. Well, you would expect no less from the UK Capital for Innovation.

It is this reputation that is giving other high-tech manufacturers the confidence to invest in Derby.

A prime example is St. Modwen Park Derby, the new business park being created in the shadow of Pride Park Stadium and Derby Arena by St. Modwen Logistics.

The first phase has already attracted international manufacturers such as Vaillant and Getinge.

In April, St. Modwen announced it was pushing forward with the second phase, representing a further investment of £60 million.

St. Modwen Park Derby is a brand-new site – but in recent weeks I have reported news of plans to redevelop existing sites that are in need of fresh investment and fresh ideas. They are sites that need reinventing.

Friar Gate Goods Yard is one of them. This 11.5-acre site seems to have been derelict since the last Coronation happened.

However, all that could be set to change. In April, Clowes Developments, which owns the site, announced it had appointed a developer to bring forward plans to create 275 homes there, as well as mixed-use space.

The chosen developer is Wavensmere Homes – and when you see the superb job it is doing of the Nightingale Quarter residential scheme (including the sensitive restoration of the ‘pepper pots’) you have to say, Clowes have made an excellent choice.

Another area of the city that could look very different in a few years’ time is the area around Derby Midland Station.

As much as I’m always willing to defend Derby, for a first-time visitor arriving by train, the sight that greets you as you come out of the station is pretty underwhelming.

A taxi office, an off-licence and a notorious ‘spa’. It doesn’t exactly scream UK Capital for Innovation does it?

However, all that could be set to change. Already we are seeing the benefits of Derby landing Great British Railways with the sale of nearby Midland House.

The hope is that the revamp of this key building will spark a wider regeneration of this area – and create a vista far more becoming of a forward-looking city that is home to global names in rail, aerospace and automotive.

With a refreshed gateway, new arrivals should be more inclined to explore what lies beyond – and head to the city centre, which itself is undergoing some major changes.

Among these is another project involving the revitalisation of an existing building – the historic Market Hall.

In April, I reported that work to revamp the building had moved on to its second phase.

Once complete, the new-look Market Hall should be a vibrant retail and leisure destination, providing an important link between the Derbion shopping centre and the St Peter’s Quarter and Cathedral Quarter areas, as well as the Becketwell regeneration scheme.

Here at Marketing Derby, we encourage and support schemes that we feel will help transform the city centre for the better.

For example, following consultation with members of Derby Economic Development Advisory Committee (DEDAC), Marketing Derby wrote and submitted letters to the city council backing applications for two key schemes – the transformation of 8-9 Iron Gate (the former Bennetts building), into a mixed-use scheme – and the redevelopment of sites around the Derbion shopping centre.

These are just two examples of city centre repurposing that our investment team will be taking with them and sharing to delegates at the forthcoming UKREiiF event, which will be taking place in Leeds later this month.

UKREiiF (you thought MIPIM was a strange acronym) stands for the UK’s Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum.

It brings together delegates from across the country to discuss the future of real estate – and Marketing Derby will be there flying the flag for the city.

Of course, if you can’t make it to Leeds there is always the Derby Property Summit, which this year is due to take place at Reach Events on 12 July.

More details will be released soon – keep an eye on your inboxes for invites!

It must be said that residential development is playing a key part in Derby’s ongoing regeneration – but not everyone can afford to buy a new house or apartment.

In fact, it is becoming increasingly difficult for our young people to get a foot on the housing ladder – and that’s why I was delighted to report on work starting on a new housing scheme led by YMCA Derbyshire.

The scheme, which will see 60 apartments built in Cotton Lane, follows extensive research by the YMCA, which found that those entering work or on low wages faced considerable barriers to accessing the housing market.

As someone who particularly cares about young people (and whose mother was patron of the YMCA for 70 years) I’m sure our soon-to-be crowned King would approve.

Have a safe and productive May and I look forward to catching up again soon.

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