Investment News | 15 March 2022

University unveils ambitious vision to develop city centre presence

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A vision for how the University of Derby intends to develop its city centre footprint and improve connectivity between its sites has been launched.

The City Masterplan, which has been devised in conjunction with Matthew Montague Architects, 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.

Last May, the university announced its vision for a new iconic Derby Business School in Agard Street.

The building is projected to be the study base for over 6,000 students by 2030.

In addition to the new Derby Business School, the Academic Zone will have the capability of delivering additional learning space, Union of Students’ facilities, catering, and student residential space, as well as staff and lettable office accommodation.

The Enterprise Zone will aim to deliver a mixed-use development comprising commercial lettable and business start-up/grow-on space, as well as provision for retail, entertainment and student residential space.

The university said that the masterplan supports its ongoing commitment and contribution to the inclusive and regenerative growth of Derby city and its surrounding area, encouraging enterprise and innovation collaboration with businesses and expert academics.

It also aligns with the university’s aspirations to develop further as a civic institution with an increased city centre presence and enhanced connectivity across its estate.

The plan has been created to be flexibly phased, with the new Derby Business School, set to open in 2024, representing the first phase.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE, the university’s vice-chancellor and chief executive, said: “This is an exciting time for both the university and the city as we move towards realising our ambitions, and we look forward to working closely with stakeholders as our plans develop.

“Derby is a city with huge momentum and as its only university we are committed to supporting and driving forward its ongoing regeneration, making a long-lasting positive impact on the communities within it and helping to enhance its overall offer.”

John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said: “We are delighted to see that the university’s ambition to shape the city’s recovery is being realised.

“It’s an exciting 21st century vision and I think it’s fresh approach – most especially in creating new green and blue spaces – needs to be knitted into the heart of the city right up to the riverside.”

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