£14 million boost for Derby culture

Derby culture projects are set to receive a £14 million boost as Derby City Council announced bids have been successful for three major schemes in the city.

This includes the proposed music and performance space on the Assembly Rooms site. The plan for the venue secured its full bid amount of £8.6 million in capital funding from the Local Growth Funding (LGF) grant for Derby provided through the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership. The venue is described as being the ‘centrepiece of an emerging cultural hub’ by Deputy Leader Councillor Martin Rawson and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economy.

Two other Derby culture bids were successful from the same fund with £3.65 million allocated for regeneration of the Silk Mill Museum and £6.6 million allocated for further phases of work in the Castleward Urban Residential Development.

Deputy Leader Councillor Martin Rawson said: “This is a major step forward in achieving our ambition to create a new flagship Music and Performance Venue on the Assembly Rooms site. This will be the centrepiece of an emerging cultural hub in the city centre. It is also an important linchpin for stimulating the night time economy and creating vibrancy around the Market Place.

“A vibrant city centre is the driver of our local economy and I am convinced that once we get a new facility in place that it will spur business confidence and we will see a surge in private sector investment which will help to transform Derby.”

A new music and performance venue in the city centre will add to the existing offer with large touring shows accommodated at Derby Arena, and mid-size shows at The Venue and Hairy Dog. The city has a number of smaller venues and other large spaces such as the County Cricket Ground have been used, most recently for a performance by Elton John. The proposed development also includes a theatre space, adding capacity to what’s on offer from Derby Theatre, the Guildhall, and Deda.

The Assembly Rooms has been moth-balled since 2014, follow a fire in the plant room on the roof of the adjoining multi-storey car park. The council decided the venue was too badly damaged to re-open and has since set out plans for a £60-70 million pound regeneration of the site including which a council spokesperson told the Derby Evening Telegraph in 2016 would be: “a highly configurable venue that could be arranged either as a 2,800-seat auditorium for music and entertainment events or converted to a 1,600-seat theatre. It would also have a 400 capacity space that could be used as a VIP lounge or conference space.”

Other areas of Derby culture have also received funding. Regeneration work at the Silk Mill Museum is already underway as it becomes the Silk Mill Museum of Making. The improved museum will display ‘fascinating items from Derby’s rich industrial history, celebrating the makers of the past; and will be designed to empower makers of the future through inspirational environments for learning programmes and activities’ according to its website. It has already received funding toward the work from Heritage Lottery Fund, Derby City Council and Arts Council England and plans to complete the work in 2019/2020.

The allocated money from the Local Growth Fund will not be released to the three successful projects until after ‘submission and acceptance of a detailed, value for money business plan – showing practical outcomes relating to jobs, homes and learning opportunities created.’

For more see Derby City Council’s website.


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