Investors behind three major schemes, together worth £450 million, and that will transform Derby have given a huge vote of confidence to the city’s ability to bounce back following the coronavirus pandemic.
Directors of the three companies, who will, create hundreds of homes, shops, restaurants and offices, say they remain committed to their investments despite global financial turbulence caused by the current health crisis. And they say Derby is well-placed to recover strongly as economic activity increases with the easing of lockdown measures.
The endorsements come from:
- Wavensmere Homes, which is building 800 homes in a £150 million redevelopment of the historic former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary site;
- Compendium Living, which is investing £100 million to create a further 800 homes and 35,000 sq ft of retail in the city’s Castleward;
- St James Securities Group, which will plough £200 million into developing hundreds of homes, offices, restaurants and cafes around a new public square at Becketwell, on the site of the former Debenhams store and Duckworth Square shopping centre.
Their confidence in the underlying strength of Derby’s economy is a huge boost following recent news that the city’s largest private sector employer, Rolls-Royce, is to make thousands of redundancies across its global workforce. It is not yet known how many of those will be in Derby.
Wavensmere publicly launched their Nightingale Quarter development at the beginning of the year and interest has been high in the houses and apartments being built for sale or rent. Compendium Living recently submitted its planning application for the next phase of its residential development at Castleward for 82 new homes in Derby city centre. Elsewhere in the city the gradual demolition of Derby’s former Debenhams store is nearing completion, paving the way for the £200m regeneration scheme in the Becketwell area.
A further sign of confidence comes with the news that Derby has been ranked in 13th place in the UK and number one in the East Midlands as part of EY’s UK Attractiveness survey. The report presents the results of an investigation into the distribution of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects into the UK, including first-time investments in the UK and growth at existing foreign-owned businesses in the UK.
Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council, welcomed the developers’ continued commitment to the city:
“We know that sections of the economy are suffering badly because of coronavirus and the resultant lockdowns. We are working hard to support Rolls-Royce, its workers and other businesses who are victims of a crisis that was not of their making,” he said.
“We remain confident in the underlying strength of our city and that Derby will emerge from this challenge as, still, a great place to live, work and invest.”
Jonathan Jenkin, Managing Director of Planning Design, who are proud to be based in Derby, at the heart of the UK, said:
“Covid 19 has cast a shadow over the economic outlook for the city, the press has focused on the problems that the pandemic has caused to Rolls Royce’s aero engine business but the city is much more than a part of a single company. Derby remains strong in advance engineering, it has one of the most improving universities, it has thousands of small and medium enterprises and it is extremely well located for the transport network being only one and a half hours by train from central London. It has a skilled workforce, available development land and reasonable house prices. The countryside around the city is some of the best in the Country.
Jonathan continues “We started in Derby in 2002 and it has proved to be a great base for business. We aim to continue our association with the city, Derby will remain our base but Covid 19 has shown us that a combination of office and homeworking is both practical and for many staff desirable. We continue to receive many enquiries regarding development, and we are confident that our past successes in and around the city will continue as we emerge for the lock down.”