Why The Landmark Can Kick Start The Economic Recovery Of Derby
An open letter from Godwin Developments regarding their development in
Dear City of Derby councillors,
Over the last few years we, at Godwin Developments, have worked diligently and in good faith to bring about Derby’s first Build-to-Rent scheme – the Landmark. As one of the tallest proposed buildings in the City, it was always intended as a statement that Derby is open for business, opportunities and growth. Today, when livelihoods across every community are affected by the coronavirus pandemic, it is even more important for the City’s economic revival.
As we approach the next planning committee’s hearing on 28th May, we felt it was essential that we write to you directly to clarify our perspective. Below you will find a brief summary of the sizeable economic, social and environmental benefits of the scheme together with the conclusions of an objective heritage assessment which clearly points to the less than substantial harm of the Landmark on the World Heritage Site. It is therefore evident that the economic gains of the development considerably outweigh the impact of the scheme on the City which is why we strongly recommend that the Landmark should be granted full planning approval next week.
The Landmark is essential for the economic recovery of Derby, bringing additional regeneration benefits such as housing, social and environmental improvements. Based on a study conducted by global real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield, the development will:
- Contribute £68m of additional economic activity for Derby, including £200,000+ of annual council tax revenues, £200,000 pa new homes bonus and will retain up to £5.8m pa disposable income in the City;
- Contribute 9% of the City Centre’s housing target by providing 201 residential units;
- Create 900 temporary construction jobs over a two-year period and around 10-15 permanent roles when complete;
- Attract and retain 500+ young professionals to Derby, which will increase footfall into Derby City Centre and boost local businesses;
- Deliver high-quality, desirable professionally managed apartments with a river view which will attract employees of large local enterprises as well as support the creation of new jobs;
- Deliver substantial improvements to the public realm through the landscaping on and off-site in the North Riverside Area;
- Provide a £180,000 contribution towards flood defences that will protect the City in time of need;
- Incorporate sustainable design into the building in order to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the need for commuting, promoting healthy living in the City; and
- Deliver a scheme that is suitable from a community safety point of view, as confirmed by Derbyshire Police.
What is more, the Landmark has been designed to improve the City while also respecting its history and heritage. Our team understands Derby and its unique character, which is a result of centuries of history. We know it is not easy to combine the needs and aspirations of a modern City with the public’s passion for preserving these.
That is why we created a building that – according to the evidence from respected local firm Lathams – results in less the substantial harm to the City’s Silk Mills, and on balance is also “a visual enhancement of the area of Derby” in which it is located.
While no new evidence concerning the scheme or its impacts have been provided since last year, it is also important to note that the recommendations of the widely quoted ICOMOS report are inconsistent with the area of Derby subject to the application and as such present no viable argument for refusal.
Since members of the planning committee were mindful to grant permission previously, we would actively encourage them to consider the less than substantial impact of the development on the historical assets of Derby and balance these carefully against the significant housing, economic and regeneration benefits of the scheme.
Taking into consideration all of the above, it is our belief that the Landmark will truly be an asset to the City of Derby. The scheme is completely aligned with the council’s 2030 Masterplan for delivering a vibrant City Centre, that will ensure wealth creation and income retention in Derby. It is in step with the Derby Riverside Masterplan and the regeneration of the north side of the River Derwent, while also being compliant to the proposed tall building recommendations. It will redevelop an underused piece of brownfield land in a gateway location, which will improve Derby City Centre and will assist in attracting and retaining residents that may currently choose to live in elsewhere.
The Landmark is a viable and deliverable scheme that can commence construction within months post planning consent. The UK Build-To-Rent market has performed much better than other sectors in the economy during lockdown. We are pleased that interest in the Landmark among the investor community is still strong which is why are in a position to start work on-site quickly, should planning permission be received this month and will target a start day in the fourth quarter of 2020.
We remain passionate about the City of Derby and are ready to invest in order to support its recovery in the months and years to come. We believe, along with our many supporters within local government, business and in the community, that the Landmark should take its rightful place in the City and will serve as a catalyst for growth and a beacon for attracting further investment. The North Riverside, with its proximity to Derby City Centre, is a must on the regeneration agenda at a time when Derby needs it most. We therefore trust that the City of Derby planning committee should consider the sizeable positive contribution of this scheme to the economic destiny of the City and recommend it firmly for approval without further delays.
For our part we, at Godwin, will continue to work and support the prosperity and placemaking potential of Derby.
Group Land Director & Co-Owner