Latest News | 5 July 2022

University aiming high with city centre vision

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In the latest edition of Marketing Derby’s Innovate magazine, we find out more about the University of Derby’s bold vision for a greener, better-connected future in the heart of the city.

Earlier this year, the university lifted the lid on its City Masterplan, devised in conjunction with Matthew Montague Architects.

It focuses on the development of the area around One Friar Gate Square, Ford Street, Bridge Street, Agard Street and Nuns Street, in Derby.

The overall ambition is to create two distinct but linked areas in the city: an Academic Zone, centred around the university’s current Sir Peter Hilton Court site, and an Enterprise Zone, based around the Princess Alice Court halls of residence and Enterprise Centre area.

The first element of the plan is a brand-new Derby Business School, which recently secured planning permission.

Innovate speaks to Carl Longworth, the university’s estates director, who talks through the organisation’s vision in more detail.

The buildings in the architect’s drawings are major statements, demonstrating a desire to bring echoes of a Malaysian or Hong Kong skyline to Derby, and Carl makes no apologies for aiming high.

He told Innovate: “We have an opportunity to make a big difference here.
“I want us to build quality – something that we can be really proud of. These buildings are going to be around for, maybe, 60 years or longer.

“They need to attract and welcome people in. A series of big, grey, concrete boxes just wouldn’t work.

“We want to become even more attractive to students, we want to help the city and we want to create more space for growth.

“If we want to maintain and become even more appealing to 18-year-olds, we need a bigger presence in the city centre.

“You could argue that we are more of a suburban university at the moment, with a lot of our activity at Kedleston Road. But many of the students live in the city centre.

“If we get this development right, it’s not just going to be some residential buildings, academic buildings and commercial buildings – it will be more holistic.

“It needs to have social spaces such as coffee shops, bars and places to eat.

“It needs to be a village with all the amenities that students, and the community, would appreciate.

“And, of course, the more we engage with the city centre, the more we can help it to regenerate.

“And the more successful Derby is, then the more successful the university becomes. It’s a symbiotic relationship.”

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

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