Following the outcome of a four-week public consultation on a new performance venue, Derby City Council has taken a decision to move ahead with the 3,000-capacity flexible-space £32m Music and Performance Venue to replace the 40-year old Assembly Rooms in the city centre.

Of the four options presented, this one enjoyed the most support among the 1,006 people who participated in the consultation. Of further significance, music was the single most popular form of event, particularly by younger respondents. There was also very strongly held views that a new venue must be delivered sooner rather than later and that this must be a regeneration priority so that Derby can offer a good range of culture options in the city centre.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economy Cllr Martin Rawson said:

These results suggest that the Council should lean towards the Music and Performance Venue option. However, in taking our decision we have considered a range of other factors. These include the flexibility of the option to host a range of activities such as dance, theatre, and classical music. The flexibility of a large auditorium and a 400-capacity studio space will also enable it to adapt to future changes in the market and also to host conferences. Derby is already the 3rd fastest growing city-economy in the UK. This new venue is a game changer and a catalyst for further investment that will help us build our economy for the benefit of all. This option will also complement plans by the University of Derby for expansion of the Derby Theatre and from a financial perspective, the Music & Performance Venue is the best investment for the Council.

Peter Richardson, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

As well as places to work and do business, places of music, performance and culture are also important parts of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire area and its economy. The D2N2 area has some fantastic cultural offerings and I am confident that this music and performance venue will be another gem in the cultural crown of our area, as well as providing an economic boost to Derby through the creation of a new visitor attraction.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, Professor Kathryn Mitchell, said:

I welcome Derby City Council’s decision to commit to a new performance venue. The city centre is desperate for a new attraction that will increase activity. I personally think it was the right decision for the choice of the Music and Performance Venue option as this will meet the needs of our students and young people generally. It will also not compete with the growth of Derby Theatre in which the university is continuing their investment for refurbishment and expansion.

The Council has been allocated £8.6m of local growth funding – subject to the submission of a detailed business plan – by D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership – the private sector-led partnership promotes economic growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

The next steps are the procurement of an operator, develop an outline design for the new venue and associated car park, writing of a full business case to be able to start drawing down local growth funding from D2N2, and explore additional funding opportunities from external public and private sources for the project.

In addition, the Council will establish a Stakeholder Reference Group who can be involved in all key stages of the project. The Council will also explore a mechanism for a design competition so that stakeholders can have a say in the development of the design of this building.

It is expected that a planning application would be submitted in 2019, demolition and construction would occur in 2020 with a tentative opening date of 2022.