£450m schemes not in doubt despite Rolls-Royce jobs blow

How the regenerated Becketwell area could look

Three developers who are pumping a combined total of £450m into Derby have given their backing to the city – despite the announcement last week that Rolls-Royce is set to make 9,000 staff redundant.

Wavensmere Homes, which is building the £150m redevelopment of the former Derby Royal Infirmary site; Compendium Living, which is investing a further £100m building another 800 homes and 35,000 sq ft of retail in the city’s Castleward; and St James Securities Group, which will plough £200 million into developing 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, all say they are behind the city despite the jobs blow.

Wavensmere director James Dickens 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 quality will shine through. Derby has a strong story and the businesses that underpin its local economy will adapt and persevere.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Dave Bullock, managing director of Compendium Living, which is moving forward with the latest phase of its Castleward scheme.

He said: “We are delighted to be making our planning application for the next phase of 82 new homes on John Street in Castleward.

“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.”

St James Securities secured outline planning permission for its scheme in February. The plans could create up to 2,700 jobs.

Managing director Oliver Quarmby said: “We have been working up our regeneration proposals at Becketwell for two years now. The city and its Council are fully supportive of the proposals which now, more than ever, are vital to promote and support a significant and sustained resurgence of the city centre.

“We fully believe the fundamentals exist for a strong and confident recovery.”

Their confidence is also shared by local developer Ivygrove, which has been operating in the Derby market for decades and has just launched its Dunstall Park industrial scheme in the city.

“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,” said managing director John Blount.

“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.”

Councillor Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, welcomed the developers’ continued commitment to the city.

He said: “We know that sections of the economy are suffering badly because of coronavirus and the resultant lockdowns. We are working hard to support Rolls-Royce, its workers and other 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.”