Derby City Council’s planning committee voted in favour of plans submitted by St James Securities for the 3,500 capacity performance venue as part of the £200m Becketwell regeneration scheme.
The performance venue, which will be delivered as part of phase two of the scheme, will be owned by Derby City Council and managed by ASM Global, who are the world’s leading venue management and services company.
In the UK their portfolio includes Wembley SSE Arena, Manchester AO Arena, Newcastle Utilita Arena, Hull Bonus Arena, Leeds first direct Arena and Glasgow SSE Hydro Arena.
The venue is expected to be a significant attraction for Derby, adding a much-needed new cultural venue. It will offer a much larger, more flexible space than the city has had in the past and will collaborate with and complement the activities of Derby Arena to provide the best possible events programme for Derby.
The purpose-built venue will be a fully flexible, scalable space capable of staging a range of concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows, musical theatre, conferences, and exhibitions. The main auditorium will have a maximum capacity of 3,500 and offer a range of different event configurations including a fully seated layout for up to 2,100.
Along with a busy concert and entertainment programme, the venue will also host a wide range of business events. The venue has already received the support of the city’s key stakeholders and business leaders.
Organisations including D2N2 LEP, East Midlands Chamber, the University of Derby, Derbion, Marketing Derby, Derby Live, Déda, QUAD, Derby College, Pauline Lathan MP, Amanda Solloway MP, the Cathedral Quarter and St Peter’s Quarter BIDS all wrote letters in support of the planning application.
It is anticipated the venue will host over 200 cultural and commercial events each year and attract an additional 250,000 visitors to Derby. It is also expected to create over 200 new local jobs, generate more than £10m per year for the area and increase levels of investment in surrounding areas of the city centre.
It is anticipated the venue will be ready to welcome visitors in late 2024.
A game changer for the city
Commenting on the decision, Paul Morris, development director at St James Securities said: “To receive consent from the planning committee highlights the significance of bringing a venue of this kind to Derby and will be a real game changer for the city.
“The confidence shown in Derby by world-leading operator ASM Global will provide the impetus to attract further investment to the city.
“This decision also strengthens the link between culture and regeneration and will play a key role in Derby’s bid for City of Culture 2025.
“These are exciting times for Derby. We look forward to working alongside Derby City Council and our other private sector partners to deliver a scheme that will revitalise a long-neglected area of the city and contribute to improving the overall vibrancy and attraction of the city centre.”
Councillor Matthew Holmes, deputy leader of Derby City Council and cabinet member for regeneration, decarbonisation, strategic planning and transportation, said: “This is a major step forward on a long journey to deliver a premier performance venue for Derby. The new venue is a key component of Derby’s recovery plan which is putting culture at the heart of our city centre, so we build back better.
“We have seen in other cities that culture-led regeneration can level up a place and we want to repeat that success in Derby.
“Delivery of this great venue run by a world-leading operator will create hundreds of jobs, attract investment, diversify our economy and generate millions of pounds each year for the city.”
The Becketwell Scheme
D2N2 LEP has contributed £8m in funding for Becketwell regeneration via the Local Growth Fund.
Work on phase one of the scheme is currently underway, with the construction of 259 one and two-bedroom apartments on the site of the former Debenhams store on Victoria Street, which will be funded, acquired, and operated by Grainger plc, market leaders in the UK build to rent and private rented sector.
This will be complemented by a new public square on the site of the former Central United Reformed Church, which will also be delivered as part of the first phase, with completion scheduled for Spring 2023.
Future planned phases of the scheme include a range of other complementary uses of the site including new grade A offices and commercial space, a hotel and a multi-storey car park.