I attended a Planning conference in Nottingham City Centre this month and was surprised to discover that the 16 mile journey from my home to the conference, via car and tram, took less time than my 10 mile drive to the office in Derby has been taking of late.
This got me thinking –isn’t it time that Derby invested in a tram system of its own?
There was talk in the media last year of extending the Nottingham tram system to the proposed HS2 station at Toton, and then on to the eastern fringes of Derby, but why not extend it further? A tram line entering the city from the east could conceivably run through Pride Park, behind the Cattle Market and into the city centre via Meadow Lane.
A line could similarly extend westwards out of the city centre; along Victoria Street, the Wardwick and Friar Gate, through Friar Gate Goods Yard and along the disused railway line through Mackworh as far as the Kingsway Retail Park and the Royal Derby Hospital. A northerly line could extend out of the city centre along Stores Road to the Wyvern Retail Park.
If we are being really ambitious, why not extend this northern line along the disused railway line which runs through Little Eaton and Kilburn terminating at a new village at Cinderhill?
Amber Valley Borough Council is currently struggling to find enough housing land on the edge of existing communities to cater for Derby’s overspill. A new community linked to the city by a sustainable form of transport could be the solution.
There was much discussion at the conference about how the devolution of planning powers to City Regions could see a return to a ‘regional’ tier of Plan making; something which has been absent for the previous five years. If mooted plans to devolve power do go ahead, let’s hope they facilitate the kind of ‘joined up thinking’ that might just turn such ambitious infrastructure and housing projects into a reality.