In a step forward for the proposed redevelopment of the Becketwell area of Derby, planning permission has been granted which will enable the Central United Reformed Church to move to a new home on Green Lane.

Developers St James Securities have worked with the URC to secure planning permission for a change of use of part of Stuart House from office use to a place of worship. This will enable it to relocate from its current home in Victoria House on the corner of Becketwell Lane and Victoria Street, which was recently sold to Derby City Council and pave the way for the next phase in the redevelopment of the Becketwell scheme.

The Central United Reformed Church plays a valuable role in the local community. As well as regular worship at the Church, it is home to parents’ and children’s groups, including Guides and Brownies, as well as sessions for fitness and the bereaved. It is also the night-time base for Derby Street Pastors and Central Musical Theatre Society.

An outline planning application was submitted at the end of August for the £200m Becketwell regeneration scheme. Phase one comprises of plans for 342 Build to Rent apartments on the site of the former Debenhams store on Victoria Street and a new public square on the site of the current United Reformed Church.

The application is supported by a request to include a range of other complementary uses of the site, including up to 25,000m2  of new grade A offices, innovation centre and leisure to complement the residential and a planned multi-storey car park, with a smaller courtyard public square called Summerhill Yard to reflect that part of the site’s historic street name.

Commenting on their relocation, John Brebner, Regeneration Project Leader at Central United Reformed Church, said:

“We are keen to support the much-needed regeneration of this part of the city centre and are satisfied that our relocation will enable us to meet the needs of our congregation and the very important community services it offers.

“Thanks go out to St James Securities for their support in helping us to secure planning permission for change of use to our new home at Stuart House.”

Church minister Judith Tatton-Schiff said:

“I’m really looking forward to this new opportunity to serve the people of Derby’s city centre, alongside the wonderful members of Central URC.”

Paul Morris, director of St James Securities, said:

“The granting of planning permission for change of use at Stuart House is a very important step forward which will allow us to move forward with our plans to revitalise the Becketwell area.

“Our thanks go out to the United Reformed Church for their dedication and hard work which has resulted in their move to fantastic new premises, much better suited to the Church’s community focussed activities fit for the 21st Century. We hope the church will continue to prosper in its new home and will continue to serve the community as it has for many years.”

Residents, business owners and key stakeholders have the opportunity to comment on the scheme ahead of a planning decision which is expected to be made before the end of the year.

Demolition work of the former Debenhams building started last month and is set to be completed in May 2020. Construction work on the first phase of development set to commence in 2020.