Hundreds of local residents, members of the business community and other stakeholders visited a virtual consultation event to give their views on plans for an exciting new 3,500 capacity entertainment and events venue at Becketwell Derby.

Visitors to a virtual exhibition at were able to examine the development plans in detail and download information about the performance venue, before being invited to give their views on the scheme via an online feedback form.

A series of virtual presentations and Q & A sessions also took place, with attendees able to find out more about the scheme, which is being built on the site of the former Laurie House offices and Pink Coconut nightclub in the city.

93% of total respondents agree that Derby needs a new concert and entertainment centre. 91% agree that it will benefit other city centre businesses and 85% agree the city needs a new conference and exhibition venue.

80% of respondents would like to see music concerts, 51% comedy, 43% theatre, 27% exhibitions and 21% musicals.

30% would be encouraged to visit by renowned acts and performances, 31% by the diversity of events, 18% by a first- class venue and facilities and 11% by competitive ticket prices.

16% would be discouraged from attending by the fear of crime in this part of the city, 15% by a lack of nearby car parking and 11% by unreasonable ticket pricing.

The consultation event was staged by Leeds-based St James Securities (SJS), the developers behind the £200m Becketwell regeneration scheme.

Located at the heart of the wider mixed-use Becketwell development, the purpose-built venue will be a fully flexible, scalable space capable of staging concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows, musical theatre, conferences, and exhibitions.

The main auditorium will have a maximum (seated and standing) capacity of 3,500 and offer a range of different event configurations including a fully seated layout for up to 2,100, enabling a wide and varied event programme to be delivered.

Along with a busy concert and entertainment programme, the venue will also attract a wide range of business events.

The new performance venue will be forward funded and owned by Derby City Council and run by world class operator ASM Global, the world’s leading producer of entertainment, sports, and exhibition experiences around the world.

Commenting on the success of the online consultation event, Oliver Quarmby, managing director of St James Securities, said:

“We’re delighted with the response to our ambitious plans for Derby’s new performance venue. Due to covid restrictions, we were forced to hold our consultation virtually, but have been encouraged by the large numbers of visitors we received to our website and the overwhelming support the scheme has received from residents, key stakeholders the local business community and the public.

“The feedback we have received will help us shape our planning application and ensure the performance venue delivers the maximum possible benefits to the people of Derby.

“This ambitious project is set to significantly increase Derby’s cultural attraction and the overall profile of the city, and bring an outstanding, modern performance venue to Derby.”

It is projected that the venue will host over 200 cultural and commercial events each year and attract an additional 250,000 visitors to Derby. It is also expected to create over 200 new local jobs, generate more than £10m per year for the area and increase levels of investment in surrounding areas of the city centre.

An outline planning application for the performance venue is set to be submitted later this month and will be accompanied by a range of technical documentation covering matters such as traffic generation and car parking, noise, and air quality.

Subject to planning consent being granted, work on the performance venue is set to commence in early 2022, with handover to the operator in 2024.

Work on phase one of the site is currently underway, which includes the construction of 259 one and two-bedroom apartments being built on the former Debenhams store site on Victoria Street, and a new public square, with completion by Spring 2023.

Comments made by members of the public on the Performance Venue:

“Derby badly needs this new venue. We need it to get back on the cultural map. Also, we don’t currently have many conference venues of this capacity. I am 100% behind this proposal.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity to regenerate a neglected part of Derby and I look forward to seeing it completed.”

“I’m really looking forward to seeing this venue come to fruition as soon as possible. I love going to see live comedy and music and it’s very annoying having to keep going to Nottingham, Sheffield, Birmingham and Hull to go and see stuff.”

“Great to see and I hope it comes off. It’s massively important for Derby to have this kind of venue and for it to be in this part of the city centre. The flexibility of how the space can be used is massively important. Reassuring to learn about the track record of the operating company.”

“It’s about time we put Derby back on the map as a place that you can see top acts again and I firmly believe that this scheme will certainly do that for us.”

“Please build this, we are desperate as a city for it.”

“This is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Derby. Do this right, and people will come from all over.”

“I hope it will be the correct decision to build it on the proposed site and not on the Market Place.”