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Developers announce modifications to the first phase of the Becketwell Scheme

St James Securities, the developers behind the £200m regeneration of the Becketwell area of Derby city centre, have announced that modifications are being made to their original proposals for the residential element of the scheme ahead of it going for planning consent in the New Year.

The Leeds-based company completed an extensive consultation with businesses, key stakeholders and the general public at the end of October and since then has been reviewing the comments received alongside the responses to its formal funding exercise.

As a consequence, the decision has been taken to scale back the residential element of the scheme, which will be located on the site of the former Debenhams store on Victoria Street.

The original plan was to create 342 Build to Rent apartments in two buildings, the tallest of which would extend up to 19 storeys in height and contain 246 apartments, with 96 apartments in a second, smaller building.

The larger building will now be reduced to approximately 224 apartments over a maximum of ground plus 10 storeys. The second smaller building fronting Green Lane and Victoria Street will be ground plus 4 storeys and will be developed separately.

The new multi-purpose public square on the site of the current United Reformed Church remains the centrepiece of the development and will continue to be delivered as part of phase one.

The existing planning application, which is now scheduled to be presented at the February planning committee meeting, is currently being amended and will continue to include a detailed application for the new square but with an outline application for the two revised buildings.

The rest of the submitted planning application which includes a range of other complementary uses of the site, including up to 25,000 sq m of new grade A offices, innovation centre and leisure to complement the residential and a planned multi storey car park with a smaller more intimate courtyard public square, remains the same.

The detail for the re-designed element of the residential scheme will be presented at a future meeting, which is likely to be late spring and there will be scope for further consultation, review and comments to the revised proposals prior to Committee.

Commenting on the decision to modify the residential element of the scheme, Paul Morris, director of St James Securities, said:

“Our scheme has been the subject of careful re-design in consultation with potential Funders and their belief is that given the continuing economic uncertainty in the wider UK market in general and the lack of precedent in the Derby market in particular, a scaled-back residential element on the first phase will prove the best market fit.

“We are also conscious that concerns have been raised by individuals and organisations including the Derby Civic Society and conservation groups.

“As responsible developers, we have reviewed these concerns, alongside the results of our own detailed discussions with our wider project team and decided to implement changes to address these issues.

“However, although we have scaled back the size of the residential element of the scheme, the build quality will remain at the highest level.

“We are committed to delivering a comprehensive regeneration scheme for Derby city centre which will be fundable and above all implementable.

“We are currently working with a select number of Funds who are keen for us to deliver a scheme that is a suitable fit for a city the size of Derby.”

Cllr Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council said:

“We are committed to delivering regeneration at Becketwell, a key site in the City Masterplan and will continue to work with St James Securities to bring forward a development on the site.”

John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby, added:

“Marketing Derby, and our wider Bondholder business community, have expressed strong support for the much-needed regeneration of Becketwell.

“It is really vital for Derby that this project progresses once it has received planning. We take a lot of confidence in the fact that St James Securities has taken account of the reality of funding markets and support their revised scheme. This investment would be so positive in kicking off the new decade."

The demolition of the Debenhams store is unaffected.

The regeneration of the Becketwell area of the city is expected to bring numerous benefits to the city, including a repopulation of both office workers and residents to the city centre which will help boost activity outside of traditional retail hours.

It is also hoped that the substantial levels of investment proposed at Becketwell will provide confidence for further new investment in surrounding areas of the city centre.

Funding for the Becketwell project includes £8.1 million in Local Growth Fund investment from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership; the private sector-led partnership of business, local authorities, skills and training providers, and community and voluntary services which works to promote economic and jobs growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

St James Securities have completed many successful projects of this scale, including St Paul’s Place in Sheffield and the award-winning Round Foundry in Leeds.

The work on the demolition of the former Debenhams building is ongoing with construction work on the first phase of development set to commence in 2020.


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