11 big projects which show Derby is set to boom after the pandemic

Major schemes are set to help boost Derby into a new commercial boom after the battle against Covid is won.

The 11 projects represent investment of a colossal £700 million in the city.

It’s no wonder it is among the UK cities which are expected to emerge strongest from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent report.

The latest PwC-Demos Good Growth for Cities study says that the UK cities and towns hardest hit by the economic impact of Covid are likely to make the fastest recovery.

But is Derby well-placed to fight back after significant job and business losses, especially on the retail and aerospace sectors, throughout the city?

Certainly Derby is not short of new developments and there is a boom in construction projects especially.

They range from the Infinity Park hi-tech research centre to millions of pounds allocated to help improve out shopping areas.

Families will love the new multi-million pound Moorways water park and affordable homes on the site of the former DRI.

Visiting the city yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Derby an “amazing place” and “the home of innovation”.

He said: “You’ve got a wonderful, wonderful manufacturing and innovation sector, but it depends on us being able to get things moving again.

“We’ve been working very closely with Rolls-Royce throughout the pandemic, I am a massive fan of what they are doing in the aero-engine sector, they are a world leader and they will remain so, we very much hope. We are going to make sure we get aviation going as soon as possible.

“We are thinking about not just coming out of the pandemic strongly but coming out of it in a way that allows us to build back better and build back greener.

“It will be the private sector which will drive this.

“I have no doubt that given the levels of enterprise and innovation that you’ve got here in Derby, they have the potential to bounce back very quickly indeed. But we are going to keep putting our arms around British businesses for as long as it takes.”

The Derby City Council-led Economic Recovery Taskforce has formulated a plan to help the city bounce back.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to members of the public during a visit to the vaccination centre the Derby Arena velodrome. Picture date: Monday February 8, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Johnson. Photo credit should read: Phil Noble/PA Wire

The strategy is built around three key areas: maintaining short-term confidence among local businesses and external investors, diversifying the city centre and Derby’s employment base and decarbonising the city.

According to the report, Derby saw its economy decrease by 11.7% in 2020.

But its predicted gross value added (GVA) growth rate for 2021 is among the strongest of the 42 cities studied, placed 10th overall with a growth rate of 4.9%, behind Manchester (5.1%) and Liverpool (5.4%).

Some of the findings from the PwC-Demos study mirror the latest UK Powerhouse report, which was recently published by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business research.

It predicts that Derby’s annual GVA growth in the second quarter of next year will be 25%, ahead of Leicester (24.9%) and Nottingham (23.2%).

The report, which assumes a substantial proportion of the UK population will have received a Covid-19 vaccine by the middle of this year, states that Derby’s economic output is expected to increase by 7.3% to £6.7 billion by the final quarter of 2021, with employment moving back into positive territory at 5.5% growth.

John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said: “While all cities are facing the challenge of recovery, this is now the second report that puts Derby in the lead group.

“Key to this is attracting investment and key to that is the role confidence plays.”

John Blount, managing director of Ivygrove, which has been operating in the Derby market for decades, said: “Having been at the forefront of providing workshop and warehouse space to Derby’s indigenous businesses for over 40 years, often through difficult times, I have found that Derby has the resilience to weather a storm, never experiencing dramatic spikes, up or down, regardless of the circumstances.

“We have every confidence that the current issues will be overcome and we will continue to invest in Derby to maintain the supply of buildings to meet ongoing demand.”

And Councillor Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, said he welcomed the continued commitment to the city.

He said: “We know that sections of the economy have suffered badly because of coronavirus and the resultant lockdowns.

“We are working hard to support all businesses who are victims of a crisis that was not of their making. We remain confident in the underlying strength of our city and that Derby will emerge from this challenge as, still, a great place to live, work and invest.”

There are many projects in the Derby area in the pipeline currently which it is hoped will bring increased jobs and inward investment into the city.

These include:

Infinity Park – Manufacturing Research Centre (MRC)

This is how the research centre might look on Infinity Park

Cost: £15 million

Jobs: 70

Impact on economy: £52m over five years

Aiming to create a world-beating advanced manufacturing research centre in Derby, the city council has teamed up with Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), University of Derby and developers IPD LLP.

The MRC will help companies develop new techniques and processes to win work in the nuclear sector and tackle manufacturing challenges in automotive, rail, aerospace renewable energy and other high-value sectors.

It will also become a base for the University of Derby’s Institute of Innovation in Sustainable Engineering, which has developed an international reputation for innovation in design, manufacturing, product life-cycle management and application of new and smart materials.

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The centre should engage with 100 businesses, leading to 50 medium term interventions and then around 35 significant collaborations over the next five years.

A planning application is expected to be submitted this month, with work on site expected to begin in August 2021.

Upon completion, the facility will create a permanent base for Nuclear AMRC in the city centre and raise the profile of Infinity Park Derby.

The new facility has been in principle allocated just over £9million of funding by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, including £6.85million from its Getting Building Fund and £2.2million from its Growing Places Fund.

The final allocation of funds is subject to the approval of a full business case by the D2N2 LEP.

SmartParc – hi-tech food manufacturing campus at Spondon

The main entrance to the SmartParc food production hub

Cost: £300 million

Jobs: 5,000

Impact on economy: Central distribution facility will rejuvenate a previously blighted but strategically important site.

Food production could be in full swing by the end of the year at a giant new Derbyshire industrial site. SmartParc has applied to create a 155-acre, hi-tech food manufacturing campus on the former Celanese site at Spondon.

It will provide state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, start-up incubation units and a potential location for a food manufacturing technology centre of excellence.

The idea is to combine purpose-built food production units and a central distribution facility bringing food producers together on one campus.

Future High Streets Fund – Government funding to regenerate town and city centres

The Market Hall transformation project will still receive money from the fund

Cost: £15.043 million

Jobs: Hundreds

Impact on economy: A better visitor experience with an improved city centre

The money will be used to refurbish the city’s Market Hall once current roof repairs have been completed and improving the eastern gateway to the city, which is the area around the bus station and entrance to Derbion via the Eagle Market.

And a sum of money will be used to create a better look for the city’s streets with the use of signage, ornamentation and street furniture.

The Market Hall repair and regeneration is expected to cost around £25 million.

Although internal designs have still to be finalised, the idea is that the Market Hall will become home to new food and drink-themed markets, a “make-and-trade” zone for new entrepreneurs and space for events and activities.

Transforming Cities- improving travel and connectivity in and outside of Derby

It has been called a ‘tram without rails’ – this electric glider bus could become a common sight in the city centre

Cost: £161 million funding divided between Derby and Nottingham

Jobs: Hundreds of additional jobs could be created from construction through to new companies

Impact on economy: The city will be more accessible to companies and commuters.

This joint bid was the only one to receive the full amount from the Department of Transport

It will achieve the following for Derby:

* Improving the area around Derby rail station

* Bike hire

* Create a more welcoming gateway into the city that connects the station with the city centre, public transport, active travel links and routes into the city centre including a dedicated bus lane along the Morledge and Siddals Road.

* Development of three new smart park and ride sites with improved cycling and public transport links and electric charging facilities.

* Establishment of the city’s first dedicated mass transit link across the city by providing a high-quality electric rapid transit route directly across the city centre, linking some key intra-city destinations and public areas.

* Supplementary travel through a Demand Responsive Transport service – which will link the city centre and rail station to key employment sites including Rolls Royce, Bombardier and Pride Park and provide an innovative alternative to car travel for commuters.

* Creation of more bus priority corridors by upgrading junctions, infrastructure and real time information at key junctions to improve bus reliability on major routes.

* Cycle lane improvements along key routes to employment sites, including dedicated cycle lanes along Slack Lane, Raynesway, and Nottingham Road.

* Funding for a workplace travel service which will allow companies to encourage staff to make sustainable travel choices

Better connectivity between Derby, Nottingham and East Midlands Airport:

* Improving real time information, signal and bus lane priority for public transport across the region

* Consolidation of cashless payments and seamless ticketing in Derby

* Upgrading Robin Hood tickets, making them more flexible, and introducing contactless payment

* Expanding the rapid electric charge point network

* Upgrading cycle links between the two cities

Work is already under way on preparatory work for a new cycle path along Chequers Road in Derby and a new off-road cycle link along the former Derby-Sandiacre canal route at Spondon.

Our City Our River (OCOR) – Derby’s flood defence project

The Nat West bank on the corner of Derwent Street and Stuart Street will become park land, when the flood defences go ahead

Cost: £95 million

Jobs: Thousands

Impact on economy: Protecting the city centre an properties from flooding will free up more land for development and inspire confidence

The project which was first given the go-ahead in 2012 is being constructed in three phases – north towards Darley Park along the River Derwent; the city centre and the third phase is out towards Bass’s Rec and beyond towards Alvaston.

Although, the project is still around £22 million, the latest £10 million funding came from the Government.

This will go towards the creation of a new riverside park and will transform the east side of the river around Stuart Street, Phoenix Street, and Exeter Place, creating a new area of the city called Derby Riverside.

The scheme would not only support the ongoing OCOR flood alleviation programme, but also support the creation of more homes in the city and commercial space for 1,000 jobs.

To achieve this, further design work and a refresh of the planning consent will continue over the next two years.

Following this, the land would be acquired, through a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) if required, in order to progress with the redevelopment and to help to mitigate flooding in this area.

Work to regenerate this area has already begun with the installation of four new flood gates to Exeter Bridge and Derwent Street as well the repaving and realigning the road of the bridge.

Nightingale Quarter at DRI – redevelopment of the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary site

New photos of Derby's Nightingale Quarter development have shown how the iconic pepper pot buildings are being transformed
New photos have shown how the iconic pepper pot buildings are being transformed

Cost: £50 million

Jobs: Mainly during construction

Impact on economy: Homes in the centre of the city will get the economy back on track with more people shopping, working and living in the heart of Derby.

Wavensmere Homes is building 800 homes in a £150 million redevelopment of the historic former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary site and has developed a reputation over the past 15 years for delivering high-specification renovation projects and restoring heritage sites.

Its Derby scheme includes conversion of two iconic ‘pepper pot’ towers into a café, gym and exhibition centre.

James Dickens, managing director, said: “We still feel extremely confident in Derby as a location, despite the current situation.

“We are seeing great take-up from potential purchasers and investors in the current climate, with a number of sales and exchanges closing in the past few weeks.

“Now that surveyors and agents are back up and running, we see, due to the lack of available stock, this will have a positive impact on city centre housing.

“These are unprecedented times and Derby has a strong story and the businesses that underpin its local economy will adapt and persevere.”

Castleward – homes and retail development in the heart of Derby

The new homes being constructed at Castleward will be similar to those already built in the first phase
The new homes constructed at Castleward are similar to those already built in the first phase

Cost: £100 million

Jobs: Construction and retail

Impact on economy: Regeneration of an area close to the city centre that has been without inner city living for more than three decades

Compendium Living is creating a further 800 homes and 35,000 sq ft of retail in the city’s Castleward.

The development is being built across 30 acres of brownfield land between Derby Midland Station and Derbion.

Dave Bullock, managing director of Compendium Living, said: “We are currently on site with 54 homes on Carrington Street and the next phase will bring our total of new homes in the area to 300, alongside the new shops, boulevard and Liversage Square that we have developed.

“We are looking forward to continuing our investment in this great city over the coming years and to supporting its success.”

A38 Highways England – scheme to improve the A38 through Derby

The three-lane A38 will pass under the existing A52 at the former Markeaton island junction

Cost: £250 million

Jobs: Construction and potential new companies

Impact on economy: Keep traffic flowing, reduce congestion and improve travel times north and south from the city potentially bringing new businesses to the city.

Work on the scheme could start in late summer and is expected to be completed by 2024-25.

The project, which will see three key junctions at Little Eaton, Markeaton and Kingsway islands overhauled with flyovers and underpasses, is intended to reduce congestion and improve travel times between Derby, Birmingham and the M1.

It is all being carried out to improve road safety for road users, especially those living near to the junctions and will provide new routes for cyclists, pedestrians and disabled people to cross the busy junctions.

During this spring, advance work will be carried out including setting up the site compound and carrying out some site clearance.

Highways England, which is carrying out the work, said: “The A38 is an important route from Birmingham to Derby and through to the M1 at junction 28.

“Where it passes through Derby, long distance traffic interacts with a large volume of vehicles making local journeys causing congestion and delays.”

Future Fuels – plan to be the UK’s leading centre for future fuels technology

Derby City Council announced last October that it wanted to use Derby’s advanced manufacturing expertise to revolutionise the way low-carbon energy is used to power businesses, transport and homes.

It believes Derby’s high-tech businesses are ideally placed to develop the equipment and infrastructure that will allow communities to generate low-carbon power and to capture and store by-product or waste energy.

They say the plan will create new jobs, reduce energy costs for domestic and commercial customers, assist with UK energy security and help with diversification of the economy and de-carbonisation goals.

The proposals have been well-received by the business and academic communities and more than 80 companies and organisations are now working with the authority to develop its thinking.

Arup, a global firm of designers, planners, engineers, architects, consultants and technical specialists, has been commissioned to conduct a study into the potential of hydrogen as part of the future fuel landscape in the region.

Energy sources being considered include renewables, advanced micro nuclear, advanced gas, friction, batteries and hydrogen.

City Makers – a new maker zone for Derby

The Silk Mill in Derby is at the heart of the city makers project

Ambitious plans would see creative businesses attracted to a key area of Derby city centre.

The project is the brainchild of Derby’s Economic Recovery Task Force and will target vacant retail units in St James’s Street, Market Place and Iron Gate.

It aims to encourage makers, artists, designers and those in creative digital businesses to cluster along the route, linking with the development of the new £17m Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill.

Derby City Council has engaged consultants Creative Space Management, and plans to appoint a city centre manager to help drive the scheme forward.

It will work with landlords of empty shops to attract tenants from its target sectors by offering incentives such as small grants to support fit-out, rates mitigation and a pool of demand for space.

The council also plans to improve the street scene by illuminating buildings, commissioning public art and creating green ‘parklets’.

The authority has secured an initial £350,000 through a business rates pilot scheme and now plans to explore additional sources of funding such as Arts Council England and D2N2 LEP.

Becketwell and Becketwell Arena – regeneration of part of the city around Duckworth Square

A shot of the whole proposed Becketwell development showing the stepped apartment blocks and the public square

St James Securities Group is about to start work on a £200 million project which will see the development of hundreds of homes, offices, restaurants and cafes around a new public square at Becketwell, on the site of the former Debenhams store and Duckworth Square shopping centre.

It is claimed that the project will create more than 2,000 jobs.

The development should act as a catalyst and drive subsequent phases of development on the wider Becketwell site and this important proposal will deliver much needed residential accommodation in the city centre.

Included in the plan is a £43 million 3,500-seater performance venue to replace the Assembly Rooms, which has been closed since a fire in the adjacent car park in 2014.

Moorways Sport Village – new pool and activity centre

Work to build Derby’s new 50 metre swimming pool and water park at Moorways has reached an important milestone. Construction work on the £42 million project got under way last February, with the Moor Lane complex set for a spring 2022 opening.

The site, which will feature a 50m swimming pool, England’s first state-of-the-art WOW Wave Ball, two four-storey flumes, and a learner pool.

When completed, Moorways Sports Village, as it is called, will also have gyms and fitness studios, a soft play area, meeting rooms and a café.