A new 3,500-capacity performance arena in Derby has been approved by local planning chiefs. 

The plans for the arena in the Becketwell area were submitted to Derby City Council by Leeds-based developers St James Securities, which is working on a wider £200m (€235m/$272m) regeneration project. 

While the arena will be owned by the council, it will be managed by venue and event management company ASM Global. The contract win was announced in May this year.

Paul Morris, development director at St James Securities, said: “To receive consent from the planning committee highlights the significance of bringing a venue of this kind to Derby and will be a real game changer for the city. 

“The confidence shown in Derby by world-leading operator ASM Global will provide the impetus to attract further investment to the city. This decision also strengthens the link between culture and regeneration and will play a key role in Derby’s bid for City of Culture 2025.”

Morris added: “These are exciting times for Derby. We look forward to working alongside Derby City Council and our other private sector partners to deliver a scheme that will revitalise a long-neglected area of the city and contribute to improving the overall vibrancy and attraction of the city centre.” 

The venue will offer scalable space and the capability to have a range of concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows, musical theatre, conferences and exhibitions. 

Demolition work is set to commence in January 2022 on the site, which currently houses the Pennine Hotel, Pink Coconut nightclub and Laurie House offices. Construction work will begin on the venue in January 2023 with completion and handover to the operator set for late 2024. 

Councillor Matthew Holmes, deputy leader of Derby City Council and cabinet member for regeneration, decarbonisation, strategic planning and transportation, said: “This is a major step forward on a long journey to deliver a premier performance venue for Derby. The new venue is a key component of Derby’s recovery plan which is putting culture at the heart of our city centre, so we build back better.

“We have seen in other cities that culture-led regeneration can level up a place and we want to repeat that success in Derby. Delivery of this great venue run by a world-leading operator will create hundreds of jobs, attract investment, diversify our economy and generate millions of pounds each year for the city.” 

In the UK, ASM Global’s portfolio includes Wembley SSE Arena, Manchester AO Arena, Newcastle Utilita Arena, Hull Bonus Arena, Leeds First Direct Arena and Glasgow SSE Hydro Arena. 

ASM Global’s group commercial director and senior vice president for Europe, Tom Lynch, added: “We applaud the ambition of St James Securities and Derby City Council in putting the new venue at the heart of the regeneration of Becketwell and the future growth of the city and region. 

“We look forward to bringing world-class concerts, entertainment and business events to Derby.”

Image: Derby City Council