Posted on 12th October, 2020

Derby – Creative Plan For City Centre

By Laura O'Sullivan

Derby puts forward a plan to target the arts and the economy.

The Economic Recovery Task Force in Derby sets out to target vacant retail units in the city centre. The aim is to push recovery for the city during the current pandemic which has hit many industries in the U.K.

This news is warmly welcomed by the city and hopes to bring the community together. The project, which targets units on St James’s Street, Market Place and Iron Gate, hopes to encourage landlords of empty stores to offer incentives. Including grants to fit out the shops and rates mitigation. The target sector for this project are the arts, including makers, designers, artists and digital.

Councillor Matthew Holmes, Deputy Leader of Bondholder Derby City Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: “This will help to reinvigorate the city centre and create a cultural destination for tourists and local communities. St James’s Street and the Museum of Making will provide the bookends for the scheme and the route, signalled though public art installations, will run through the spine of Cathedral Quarter.”

Councillor Holmes continued: “We are working hard to meet head-on the growing issue of vacancy rates and this exciting initiative offers an opportunity to create an identity that is distinctly Derby by linking to the city’s heritage as a place of innovation where things are made.

“The project will focus on attracting creative businesses onto the high street by providing opportunities for makers and artists, offering new workspaces and studios for the wider creative and digital industries and creating new jobs, enterprises and city living within empty or under-used buildings. Where appropriate, upper floor space will also be converted into lettable units for live-work or flexible workspace.”

The council also announced that they plan to brighten up the street through commissioning public art and illuminating buildings. All of which offers a fantastic moral boost for the city amidst the current pandemic.

Not only this, but students of the University of Derby will benefit from this project through being heavily involved with the project team. Councillor Holmes added: “There is a strong pipeline of new talent emerging into the city, with over 500 students graduating each year from the University of Derby’s School of Arts. By working in close partnership with the university, this project will improve graduate retention by creating new space for emerging talent.”

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