Another seven properties in the Becketwell area have been purchased, as the Council continues its strategy to consolidate land for a holistic regeneration scheme of the downtrodden area.
The buildings on Colyear Street were once home to the Pink Coconut nightclub later known as Destiny and Elite, the former Pennine Hotel/St Peters Quarter Hotel, the former Redemption Nightclub, the former Syn Nightclub and the former Mint Casino. Also included in the sale are the NCP St Peters Quarter multi-storey car park, surface level car park on Becket Street and Laurie House.
With a combined area of 65,337 square feet of land (6,070 square metres), this latest acquisition brings the total amount of land now owned by the Council in the Becketwell area to 204,730 square feet (19,020 square metres).
The D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which has already invested £4 million in the regeneration scheme has provided another grant of £4.1 million as a further investment towards the regeneration scheme. Part of this was used for the purchase of the new properties.
D2N2 LEP is the private sector-led partnership that promotes economic growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
The leader of the Council Chris Poulter said:
I am pleased to announce the purchase of these properties following successful closed door negotiations by a multidisciplinary team of officers. This is a huge milestone as it opens up huge opportunities for a bigger impact of the Becketwell Regeneration Scheme.
The purchase has taken us even further towards accomplishing two key objectives of our City Centre Masterplan. One is for a holistic regeneration scheme for this area and the second is to release publicly-owned assets for regeneration in partnership with private sector developers.
It is pleasing that the owner of these properties has been able to work with us and has agreed to the sale for the good of the city and the local economy. We are now forging ahead with developing a masterplan to transform this derelict area into a vibrant quarter of leisure, living and business. More will be revealed early in 2019.
Over the past few decades, the market has failed to deliver a sustainable long-term solution to the growing decline and dereliction of the Becketwell area. This began in the 1980’s when Duckworth Square and the wider Becketwell area began to deteriorate following the closure of an ‘anchor’ store within the Duckworth Square Shopping Centre. Duckworth Square Shopping Centre became a retail ‘cul-de-sac’ and when tenancies continually failed and units remained vacant for years, demolition became the only option in 2003.
There have been a number of attempts at redevelopment since, including a residential / leisure scheme proposal by First Urban which failed to secure pre-lets, a residential-led scheme proposal by Metropolitan Housing and most recently a healthcare led proposal by Assura. Unfortunately, the market has been unable to deliver a solution for the regeneration of Becketwell.
In 2007 Debenhams vacated the department store building on Victoria Street which has subsequently been occupied by lower value uses. This move coincided with the wider economic recession and huge shifts in consumer behaviour leading to more online shopping and less high street retail. These factors combined have led to higher vacancy rates in the Green Lane / Victoria Street area of the city centre, lower value uses and a decline in levels of footfall and the quality of the built environment.
In 2014, the Council began an interventionist strategy for regeneration with the acquisition of Duckworth Square. This was followed in 2016 with the purchase of the former Debenhams building and further Cabinet approval in September 2018 for the purchase of the properties on Colyear Street.
The aim is for the Council to remove the obstacles that have hindered regeneration in order to make it attractive to developers.