Latest News | 17 February 2022

University unveils ambitious vision to develop city centre presence

University of Derby
Matthew Montague Architects
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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.

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.”

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.”

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.

A public consultation on the plans was held at the end of 2021 and a planning application is expected to be submitted next month.

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.

Mr Forkin said: “Marketing Derby has a strategic partnership with the university, and we are meeting soon to agree how we might help attract investors into the new campus.”

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 Mitchell said: “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.

“The links between the two areas we have identified are critical to developing a vibrant hub that creates a safe and welcoming space for students, staff and the wider public, and enables them to feel connected and involved in our city.”

Matthew Montague, principal architect at Matthew Montague Architects, said: “The masterplan is ambitious and a fantastic opportunity to help shape the future development of the university and the city. With a phased development these plans can come to fruition, and we are delighted to be involved.”

Daniel Evans, lead architect of the masterplan, said: “The concept for design focuses on simplicity, vibrancy, safety and sustainability.

“It draws on Derby’s industrial heritage and uses it to create a modern environment, keeping spaces open day and night.”

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