Derby Property Summit: How the city is building confidence in its future

Derby Market Place

Growing investor confidence is fuelling the regeneration of Derby – that was the message delivered to delegates at this year’s Derby Property Summit.

Held as a hybrid event at Derby Market Place and QUAD yesterday, the property showcase saw around 60 people attend in person, with hundreds more watching online, some from as far afield as China.

The audience of business leaders, key decision-makers and investors heard how Derby was continuing to attract hundreds of millions of pounds of new investment – and were given an insight and update into its £1.2 billion of future investment opportunities.

John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said: “Derby has investment momentum and the prospects for the future look even brighter. For years there has been talk of the broken British high street and the need to repurpose, with Covid accelerating that. Derby is at the cutting edge of that thinking.”

Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, said: “Derby is a city on the up, which is positively thinking forward to the future. Our number one priority is to support businesses and investors to the city to make the most of our fantastic community.”

Hosted by business journalist Declan Curry, the event featured a top-line up of keynote speakers, including investors who explained why they were investing in Derby, as well as a panel discussion on the future of the city centre.

The event, which was backed by event partner Faithful + Gould and Atkins, along with event supporters Adair and Scenariio, gave the audience an exclusive insight into Derby’s regeneration strategy and why investors were buying into it.

The summit began with Mr Forkin setting the scene, saying the city had £1 billion of completed projects under its belt – but had many more in the pipeline.

John Forkin

John Forkin

He then went on to outline the health of the Derby economy, citing two influential reports, both of which predict a strong economic recovery for the city following the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier this year, the PwC-Demos Good Growth for Cities study, ranked Derby as a top 10 city for post-covid economic recovery.

Meanwhile, the UK Powerhouse report predicted Derby’s GVA would increase more than any other East Midlands city, increasing by 25% in the second quarter of this year.

The summit then heard from Councillor Poulter, who set out the city’s economic strategy, which is based on confidence, diversification and decarbonisation.

He said: “Confidence is vital to get the city back on the up. We need to give people the confidence to come to Derby. An example is Project D, which is expanding massively with the support of a city council scheme called Ascend, which will formally launch next week.

“We are the industrial heartland of the East Midlands. However, the pandemic highlighted that we were vulnerable, particularly the impact it had on aerospace. So, we are looking to diversify our offer, with projects like SmartParc.


“Finally, in terms of decarbonisation we are developing a future fuels policy and have recently partnered with Toyota to tackle issues around decarbonisation and mobility.”

Councillor Poulter explained how Derby had attracted £267 million of public investment to support key local projects, including Becketwell (£45 million) and SmartParc (£17 million).

He also talked about Derby’s recent bid to become the City of Culture 2025.

He said: “For me, bidding was a no-brainer. I don’t think there is a city in the country that could benefit more from this.”

The summit also heard from investors, who together have committed hundreds of millions of pounds to Derby.

Derby Investment Prospectus 2020

Among them was Paul Morris, director of St James Securities, the company delivering the £200 million Becketwell regeneration scheme.

He revealed that cranes would be returning to the city centre next week as work continues on the first phase of the project.

He also said that an application would be submitted next week for phase two of the scheme to create a new 3,500 capacity performance venue and conference centre.

Ken Ford, advisor to Cale Street – the London-based Kuwait Investment Fund – which last year took full ownership of the Derbion shopping centre from Intu, took the stage to explain why it had decided to invest in Derby, while also detailing some of the exciting new investments it is currently making.

They were then followed by a panel discussion on the future of the city, before Paul Simpson, chief executive of Derby City Council, updated the audience on the progress of some of the city’s key developments.

Many of these are included in latest Investment Prospectus, which includes 17 key investment opportunities in Derby, worth over £1.2 billion with the potential to create 8,000 jobs.

To watch the Derby Property Summit please click here.