Construction work is underway onphase one of the £200m Becketwell regeneration scheme in Derby.

Councillor Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, joined developers St James Securities, representatives from main contractors GMI Construction, funders Grainger plc and other key stakeholders at a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of piling works on the site of the former Debenhams store on Victoria Street.

Phase one of the scheme includes259 one and two-bedroom Build to Rent (BTR) apartments, which will be forward funded, acquired and operated by Grainger plc, the UK’s largest listed provider of private rental homes.

The centrepiece of the development will be anew public square on the site of the former Central United Reformed Church, which will also be delivered as part of the first phase.

Demolition of the former Debenhams store and Central United Reformed Church and properties on Victoria Street was completed in May 2021.Detailed planning permission for phase one was granted in January 2021 and demolition work started in March 2021. Work on phase one of the site is set for completion by early 2023.

Work is already underway to bring forward a phase two of the scheme, which will feature an exciting new 3,500-capacity performance venue on the site of Laurie House offices and the former Pink Coconut nightclub, which will be operated by ASM Global, the world’s leading provider of entertainment experiences. A public consultation has recently taken place, with a planning application set to be submitted next month.

Future planned phases of the scheme include a range of other complementary uses of the site including up to 25,000 sq. m of new grade A offices and commercial space, a hotel, and a multi-storey car park.

The regeneration of the Becketwell area 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 made at Becketwell will provide confidence for further new investment in surrounding areas of the city centre.

More than 2,000 jobs are anticipated to be created by the development.

Commenting on the start of phase one, Dan Murray, construction director of St James Securities, said:

“More than three years since we first visited the site, we are delighted to see construction work start on this landmark regeneration scheme for the City of Derby.

“This project will be transformational – allowing hundreds of people to live in high-quality homes in the heart of the city and breathing new life into an area which has been challenged for many years.

“Alongside the apartments and public square that will make up phase one of the scheme, there will be wider development, including new offices, public space, and a hotel – as well as our exciting new performance venue, which will be developed by St James Securities and owned by Derby City Council.

“We look forward to delivering a scheme that will revitalise this long-neglected area of the city and contribute to improving the overall vibrancy and attraction of the city centre.”

Cllr Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, added:

“This brilliant project is an important component of the Derby Recovery Plan. The ambitious development at Becketwell will diversify the economy and is an example of how we are creating a modern, SMART city, with jobs for the future.

“It’s fantastic to reach this historic milestone and we are proud of the vital role Derby City Council has played in making this happen by assembling the land and securing the D2N2 LEP investment. I’m confident that by working together we can build back better.”