Latest News | 14 July 2023

‘Working together we can deliver city’s radical transformation’

Derby City Council
University of Derby
Wavensmere Homes
Down to Earth Derby
Compendium Living
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Reach Events
Grainger Plc
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In his first major address since becoming leader of Derby City Council, Councillor Baggy Shanker explained to this year’s Derby Property Summit how his administration wants to work with the property and investor community to achieve a “radical transformation” for the city.

Councillor Shanker became the new leader of the city council following May’s local elections, in which Labour secured enough seats to form a minority administration.

Talking before a packed audience at Reach Events, Councillor Shanker said that one of the key themes of his party’s election manifesto was creating ‘A City Centre for All’.

And one of his administration’s first actions was to allocate a cabinet member for the city centre – Councillor Nadine Peatfield, who will lead a newly created City Centre Task Force to push forward the “radical transformation” needed.

Councillor Shanker said the council would be working with its partners to address the challenges facing the city.

He said: “We have heard how many cities face similar challenges. The solutions lie in creating innovate collaborations.

“That is why I was delighted to hear that Derby has been shortlisted by Estates Gazette as City of the Year and also for Public-Private-Partnership of the Year.

“Both seem so appropriate to me, my council and to this summit.”

He paid tribute to the investments that had already been made in the city – both public and private sector-driven.

He cited key investors such as Derbion owner Cale Street – and those driving the city’s ‘residential revolution’, such as Compendium Living, Grainger Plc and Wavensmere Homes.

And from a city council perspective, he highlighted how it was investing in schemes such as the Market Hall, the Becketwell Performance Venue and the Eastern Gateway.

Councillor Shanker said his administration would now look to build on this momentum, by driving forward with projects such as the new ‘Assemble’ learning theatre on the site of the Assembly Rooms – while also looking at ways to ‘green and blue’ the city.

He said: “We can and will do more – harnessing the creativity and energy of our communities to attract more people from the city and its hinterland as a destination, not just of convenience, but of choice.

“If we are being honest, Derby city centre is too grey. There are not enough green spaces or water features and so we are working with partners, such as the Environment Agency, D2N2 LEP, the University of Derby, Down to Earth and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, to devise a City Centre Spaces Strategy.

“This will deliver better, greener and more attractive solutions to the public realm, making Derby a people-friendly, safe and sustainable place.

“I am not seeking grand masterplans here. I want to see practical, pragmatic near-term solutions delivered.

“In truth, much of this type of work has been done elsewhere and I want to see best-in-class learning applied here in Derby.

“Many of the larger projects are funded and already in the pipeline, but we need to see them better connected, curated I might say, as a whole city experience.

“For example, we need to see the river as an asset not a threat, streets that are animated and enjoyable, gateways that tell a story about our people and place, spaces that bring green into the heart of our city.”

Councillor Shanker ended by saying that the city council aimed to achieve its goals by working with those attending the Derby Property Summit.

He said: “I am of this city, live in this city and work in this city. We have so much to be proud of in what we have given the world, and what the world has given us.

“Under my leadership, Derby City Council will be working hard to retain what’s best and develop what is needed.

“The city centre is a priority and I believe that working with you, the people in this packed room, we can deliver the radical transformation we all desire.”

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