Latest News | 13 July 2022

‘We had artists’ impressions – now we’ve got buildings’

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At the Derby Property Summit, Derby City Council chief executive Paul Simpson sat down with host Declan Curry to discuss how the vision for the city is fast becoming a reality.

In the discussion, Mr Simpson talked through a number of projects that are helping to repurpose the city – many of which have been completed or are in the process of being built.

He began by talking about schemes designed to contribute to the ‘blueing and greening’ of the city, such as plans to create the UK’s largest rewilding project at Allestree Park, schemes in the city centre that embrace rather than look away from the River Derwent and plans to uncover parts of Markeaton Brook, which runs underneath the city’s streets.

He said: “People want more of this kind of space. It is about allowing nature back into the urban environment.”

Mr Simpson then talked about schemes that can improve people’s experience of the city, such as the recently opened £42 million Moorways Sports Village – a project which he described as being of “national significance”.

He said: “For the last couple of years we have had artists’ impressions of schemes – now we are starting to get buildings.

“There are the people who say that nothing ever happens in Derby – I believe we are beginning to prove those people wrong.”

Mr Simpson then talked about ongoing schemes, including the revamp of the Market Hall to turn it into an exciting mixed-use space – a prime example of the city repurposing its historic buildings.

He also talked about the progress that has been made with the next phase of the £200 million Becketwell regeneration scheme, which involves building a new performance venue.

A new premium hotel for Becketwell is one of three asks the city council has for Levelling Up Fund cash from the Government.

Cash to transform the derelict Friar Gate Goods Yard and create a new theatre on the site of the Assembly Rooms are also included in the city council’s submission.

The new theatre, called Assemble, would see Derby Theatre relocate to the site.

Mr Simpson said: “This site should be the heart and soul of Derby. It will boost our cultural offer and attract people into the city centre.”

Outside of the city centre, Mr Simpson also detailed schemes that were rapidly rising out of the ground, such as the Nuclear AMRC building at Infinity Park, SEGRO SmartParc Spondon, where Hello Fresh have a base, and St Modwen Park Derby.

All of these projects have been brought about by teamwork – something that was very much to the fore during the successful campaign to save Derby County, which was recently purchased by David Clowes and Clowes Developments.

Mr Simpson said: “I’m from Derby – but the passion people have for the city has really taken me by surprise.

“We need to bottle that – we need the people of Derby to get behind us.”

To watch the Derby Property Summit please click here.

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