Stephen Pratt, group land director at Godwin Developments, discusses recently securing planning approval for the Landmark building, which is set to become Derby’s tallest building when construction is completed in 2021
The Landmark, will be Derby’s first purpose-built Build to Rent (BTR) development comprising 201 high quality, professionally managed apartments This scheme will include amenities for the residents including a gym, concierge and residents’ lounge.
Derby city centre has suffered a gradual decline in footfall over recent years as out of town developments such as Pride Park have shifted traffic from the city centre. Interestingly the Derby City Plan also has evidenced the fact that although Derby has some significant employers within the city, currently a substantial proportion of the workforce commutes from outside of the city and this proportion of the workforce generally earns more on average than those living and working in Derby city centre, meaning that wealth is not retained within the city.
The City has seen sustained and rapid growth in new jobs as Derby is the UK’s leading hi-tech city. The local council has recognised the need to retain and attract new employees and workers to live within the city, to boost the urban economy and revive the city centre. Therefore, there is huge opportunity within the Derby property sector to create high-quality housing and the news about the current approval for The Landmark building has been a case in point.
The Landmark will go some way to addressing the need for new city centre homes whilst creating an exciting addition to the city’s skyline and form part of Derby’s wider ‘Riverside masterplan’ which will completely transform this area of the city within the next five to ten years.
The design for The Landmark, which is conveniently located in a central city location, will hope to attract the new influx of young professionals coming to Derby, helping to reinvigorate the city centre.
It has been said before, that the number of cranes in a city is an indicator of urban prosperity, tall buildings inspire confidence- e.g. The Landmark in Derby takes its lead from the recent high-rise developments in the likes of Manchester and Birmingham. The Landmark chimes with the thoughts laid out in the Derby City Plan which supports the construction of ‘tall buildings’ in appropriate gateway locations across the city.
Taller developments in city centres allow many more people to live and work in the central zones near major transport hubs and have the power to regenerate the area around them.
Regeneration of our city centres relies on a bustling high street where the focus will switch from being all retail to a mix of retail and leisure. City centres need a mix of residential and commercial and need to be 24 hr venues to ensure regular footfall through the day and evening.
The East Midlands presents an attractive proposition for developers and investors, not only because of land prices but also because of increasing demand for housing stock, which creates a real opportunity for the buy to rent (BTR) market. Today there is a strong demand for high-quality rented housing stock from both residents and city authorities and employers who want to retain employee talent within the city centre and as such, their spending power. With this in mind, we all need to work together to respond to that need.
So, in conclusion, what is the challenge for developers? Working with planners to create developments which match housing needs and maximising the growth potential of a city. As a developer, we are focusing on lasting communities through high-quality BTR developments, with a long-term focus.
Group land director