Council mulls multimillion-pound funding bids for three city centre regeneration schemes

Ambitious plans to rejuvenate three key sites in Derby city centre are to be considered next month – including a proposal to build a theatre on the site of the defunct Assembly Rooms.

The Becketwell redevelopment scheme could incorporate a premium hotel if the proposals are green lit – something the city currently lacks – while Friar Gate Goods Yard could be transformed into work and living space.

The theatre, which would be called Assemble and delivered in partnership with the University of Derby, could attract an additional 25,000 visitors to the city each year and generate £1.7m per year for the local economy, the City Council says.

Council chiefs will run the rule over the plans at a Cabinet meeting next week.

An application for Government funding will be made if its members give the thumbs up. Each site would also be sponsored by a local MP.

Bids of £20m and £15m will be made to finance the new theatre and hotel, which would also require Council borrowing to fund.

Meanwhile, Clowes Developments – the company on the verge of taking over Derby County FC – is looking to bring forward the regeneration of Friar Gate Goods Yard and Bridge, a project which would require between £14m and £16m of funding.

Clowes’ plans for the mixed-use development include workspace, residential units and green space.

Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council, said: “We know to Level Up Derby, tinkering around the edges is not going to be enough. We need to deliver a step change to create a successful and dynamic city centre.

“These three projects can unlock Derby’s potential. Linking with other redevelopments already in the pipeline they will give confidence to local businesses, investors and external funders. This will lead to further investment into the city.

“It is a transformative and ambitious package put together by the public and private sector, but it needs the Government to come to the table as well. All of this cannot be delivered without Government backing.”

Paul Morris, development director at St James Securities, which would deliver the Becketwell hotel in partnership with the Council, said: “We are delighted to be working with Derby City Council to bring forward the delivery of a much-needed upper mid-scale hotel to the city and are working with the council on their bid for Levelling up Funding.

“Phases one and two of the Becketwell scheme are already underway, with 259 one and two-bedroom build to rent apartments set to come on stream in early 2023 and demolition work in progress for the exciting new 3,500 capacity performance venue.

“The Becketwell scheme will provide Derby city centre with a mixed-use development of regional significance, which will be enhanced by the delivery of an upper mid-scale hotel.”