Derby URC shelves Becketwell scheme

Derby's urban regeneration company has shelved plans for a mixed-use development on the site of a former Debenham's store.

Derby Cityscape had been considering two preferred options for the Becketwell site, which is owned by Metropolitan Housing Trust and retail developer Westfield.

One option was retail-led, while the other mixed, including shops, offices, student accommodation and leisure facilities.

But the URC has concluded that the site's development, which would cost £26 million to £35 million, is not viable in the current economic climate.

Derby Cityscape chief executive John Cadwallader said: "At this point in time we don’t see a way of bringing it forward, because of [the state of] commercial property markets."

He added: "Bringing schemes forward at a time when regional development agencies are having money reduced is very difficult.

"RDAs are having their funding pointed by central government to more immediate job creation, and therefore physical regeneration projects where there’s no imminent occupier are not their priority."

Council leader Hilary Jones said the local authority would consider building an Olympic-sized swimming pool on the site, according to a local paper.

Cadwallader said: "That would be an excellent use for the site, and it’s an excellent location for a leisure facility such as a 50-metre pool."

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