Over the last eight years, Derby City Council has worked with Historic England to restore Derby’s Cathedral Quarter. The restoration has been hailed as an example for other cities to follow.
In 2009, when Historic England found the Conservation Area to be ‘at risk’, Derby topped the national table of towns and cities with the highest proportion of empty shops (22%). Many historic shop units were empty and falling into disrepair. Now, the ‘at risk’ status has been lifted.
Together, the partnership has refurbished 97 properties, mainly in the Cathedral Quarter. The scheme has brought 2,800 square metres of floor space back into use, created 42 new jobs, and helped Derby win a national award.
Derby City Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the Economy, Councillor Martin Rawson, said:
“Derby City Council has relished working with Historic England over the last eight years to bring back so many historic buildings to their former glory. This has not only enhanced the attractiveness and uniqueness of Derby city centre but has also directly contributed to supporting the local economy where many of the streets, including The Strand and Sadler Gate, have achieved 100% occupancy.
“This project helps demonstrate the economic and social benefits of historic buildings in urban regeneration and we intend to celebrate our joint success later in the year with an event in Derby.”
Martin Langsdale is chair of the Cathedral Quarter Board and Management Group. He added:
“The Cathedral Quarter BID have been key partners in the Heritage programme and agree that it has been a resounding success.
“The work on shopfronts in streets such as The Strand, Sadler Gate and Wardwick has greatly contributed to the overall vision of the Cathedral Quarter, helping to make it a destination of choice for visitors and attract quality new businesses into key properties.
“The overall look and feel of the area was a significant reason why the Cathedral Quarter was named ‘Best City Location’ at last year’s Great British High Street awards.”
The work carried out by all partners is paying real dividends – the Cathedral Quarter has seen a plethora of high-value, independent retailers move in over the last few years, with that set to continue.
Louise Brennan, Planning Director for Historic England in the East Midlands, said:
“We’re delighted that Derby city centre’s conservation area is no longer at risk. In fact it now sets an example for other cities to follow. It shows how, with care and attention, the character of a city’s streets can be used to unleash an economic revival.
“The last eight years have seen a transformation in the Strand, Wardwick, Sadler Gate and nearby streets. The quality of the new shop fronts is outstanding, and we’re proud to have played a part with Derby City Council and owners in their refurbishment.”