Derby top achievements

Following on from a previous post on 2013 achievements, here’s a further run down of the top Derby achievements of the past year.

Continued promotion of the ‘Fair Deal for Derby’ campaign

The step was taken to combine with six other Derbyshire Labour councils to lobby the Government for a fair distribution of cuts to local government funding.

There is evidence to suggest that cuts are disproportionately affecting the most deprived areas.

Derby has lost £8.7 million in government grants and financial support between 2011/12 and 2012/13. This equates to a cut of 4%

Reductions in our funding per head of population show that since 2010, Derby has lost £75.77 for each person compared to the national average of £61.90 across similar sized councils.

The fair Deal for Derby is something I continue to back, and despite little movement from central government, will continue to push for a better funding distribution for the people of Derby.

Read more about the campaign here.

Support for residents affected by the Bedroom Tax

Derby Homes pro-actively communicated with tenants regarding the changes and provided budgeting and benefit advice to those affected.

The council is facilitating tenants to downsize, arranging mutual swaps and making funds available to meet the costs involved in moving house.

Campaign against Pay-Day Lending

Motion passed at Council opposing pay-day lending and promoting credit unions as an alternative for short-term borrowing.

We blocked access to payday loan firm websites on city council computers to promote safer ways of getting quick cash.

People are directed to alternate places to get a loan, such as credit unions which are smaller non-profit organisations that offer far lower interest rates than the payday loan firms.

Derby United Credit Union offers loans at 26.8% APR while’s offer can be around 5,853% APR.

People are being hit hard by payday loan companies’ astronomical charges, so we promote Derby United and Erewash Credit Union.

Derby Arena drawing close to completion

The project is being delivered on time and within its budget. Derby Arena is due to open in early 2015, and is costing £28m funded by the £57m leisure strategy.

Derby Arena seeks to capitalise on a sector of the leisure market that generates more than £3 billion to the UK economy and is part of our Olympic 2012 legacy.

Derby Arena is 14,500m2 (156,000 sq. ft.) and will include:

  • 250 indoor cycling track:    track cycling   (beginner, school, women’s, club, veterans sessions, track leagues, track cycling events)
  • Infield sports hall:  all activities that can take place in a sports hall including badminton, basketball, netball, wheelchair basketball, volleyball martial arts, table tennis, trampolining
  • Fitness gym and group exercise studios
  • Cultural events, exhibitions, product launches, conferences – up to 5000 people standing and sitting (1500 permanent seats)
  • Cafe and bar/hospitality

MUSA - Derby

Duckworth Square re-development announced

We announced £5 million worth of investment in Duckworth Square, one of Derby’s regeneration priorities.

We’re working with the Assura Group to develop an ultra-modern health campus on the site with the aim of becoming an asset for the local community.

Refurbishment of the Silk Mill

The Derby Museums Trust began the first stage of the refurbishment of the Silk Mill with a £700,000 re-fit of the ground floor.

The new space is being designed with help from ‘citizen curators’.

Opening of re-designed frontage at the railway station

The opening of the £2.2 million scheme included a better bus interchange, improvements to the taxi rank and lighting, new public art, increased cycle parking and a new car parking layout.


Council recognised by a number of national and regional awards including:

LGC Award – Management Team of the Year

LGC Award – Business Transformation

LGC Award – Council of the Year Finalist

MJ Award – Public Private Partnership Winner

MJ Award – Children’s Services Winner

MJ Award – Best Achieving Council, Highly Commended

Green Apple Gold Award for contribution to the Built Environment and Industrial Heritage.

Purple Flag Award recognising the diversity and safety of Derby’s nightlife

The scheme takes into account a number of factors, including variety, safety, cleanliness and ease of access.

Derby was highly commended for its variety of real ales, micro-breweries and partnership working between the council and local venues.

Purple Flag

Green Flag Award recognising the quality of Derby parks and green spaces

The scheme, run by Keep Britain Tidy, recognises the best parks and green spaces across the country.

Green Flag was awarded to Alvaston Park, Chaddesden Park, Derby Arboretum and the National Collection of Hydrangeas at Darley Park.

Blue Plaque Scheme recognising influential figures from the city’s past

The initiative is a partnership between the Council and Derby Civic Society, with 20 historical figures nominated in its first year.

Together, we erect Blue Plaques across Derby to celebrate famous people who have strong links with the city.  Blue Plaques are traditionally erected on a building or a site to mark the connection between that location and a famous person or event.

The Council and Derby Civic Society asked local people to suggest who could be honoured with a Blue Plaque in the city. They needed to be people who have been dead for at least 20 years; had a long lasting effect; have wide public support and have a clear link to a building or site in Derby.

There are plans to add electronic tags to the plaques that would link to a web site where there would be more information about the person.

15 year anniversary of twinning arrangement with Toyota City

A delegation made up of representatives from Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council and South Derbyshire District Council visited Japan.

The visit aimed to promote Derbyshire as a tourist destination and recognised the contribution made by Toyota to the regional economy.

Ensuring that Toyota Manufacturing, based in Toyota City, understand our commitment to the £500 million they have invested in Derbyshire and the 3500 jobs they support directly and the 1000’s in the supply chain.

Launch of the Big Conversation

The Big Conversation was launched with the intention of engaging residents on the future of public services in Derby, at a time when local government faces unprecedented financial pressures.

More information on the big conversation can be found here.

Bombardier visit

I recently went on a visit to the Bombardier Factory on Osmaston Road, and it’s hard to believe how large it actually is, it even includes its own one mile long test track. Obviously it’s not surprising given what they make, however it seems so much bigger when you actually venture inside for a look.

Whilst there it was interesting to hear about what their future plans are. I have to say it’s worth having a tour around, it is a fascinating place to visit.

I was sure to compliment them on the award of crossrail and I wish them the best for the future.

Francis Paonessa, their MD also outlined their aspirations for the future, so it’s nice to know they are working on contracts even beyond crossrail. I look forward to working with Bombardier and DDRF to celebrate the 175 years of rail manufacturing in Derby.

EPM – State of the art technology, state of the art new facility for Derby (in Alvaston Ward)

Councillor Tittley, Cllr Winter and I visited the new EPM Technology factory last week. This is an up and coming company and we’re pleased they chose Derby as home for their new, state-of-the-art facility at Raynesway, Derby.

epm Cllrs visit 024

The facility is in its early stages and is costing £6million. We were welcomed by the Managing Director, Graham Mulholland, who walked us around each section of the building, outlining the areas and their use, from laminating to fitting, autoclaves to CNC machines.

epm Cllrs visit 006

It was great to get an understanding of the vision that Graham has for EPM. This new facility will double their capacity and give them the room they need to grow their output for motorsport, aerospace and defence customers.

Thanks for the invite, Graham, I’m looking forward to the official opening.

epm Cllrs visit 051

Autism awareness support marked with blue light up

To mark the seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day today Derby will join iconic landmarks from the Sydney Opera House and Empire State Building to ‘light it blue’.

Tonight at 6.30pm the Market Place will be lit with a projection of blue and from 3.30pm there will be an awareness stand with informaton on autism with an array of blue goodies, so pop along and see the stand if you’re passing through the Market Place.

Later this evening, Councillors Tittley and Rawson will light the heart of the city, the weir at Derby River Gardens, blue.

We were originally approached by a Derby parent, Jay Ingle, who has two autistic sons. Jay wanted to bring autism awareness to the city and have an opportunity to tell others about the condition and also ensure those with it can lead an integrated and positive life. When she got in touch, we wanted to help and mark the day accordingly.

I look forward to seeing the weir lit blue, and the projection on the market in all of its blue glory. I’m pleased to be joining other cities and countries worldwide in lighting up blue to raise awareness of autism and am pleased to mark this day here in Derby.

DCC lights it blue for autism awareness day

DCC lights it blue for autism awareness day

Great deal for Rolls Royce, great news for Derby

PoD device fullWhat great news for Rolls Royce today, and in turn great news for Derby, with the announcement that they have won a £660 million deal to supply the Japanese airline, All Nippon Airways.

More info is in today’s Derby telegraph. Well done Rolls Royce!

Action needed to curb betting shops

Following the approval of another betting shop on Normanton Road, where there are already two such premises, I’m eager to take action to stop the growth in the number of betting shops in the city and to reduce or remove completely high-stakes gambling machines from these premises.

There are very strong objections in the local community to yet another betting shop in this area and I raised objections with the Council’s licensing and planning teams on their behalf, as did the Mayor, Cllr Fareed Hussain, and all the local ward councillors for Arboretum, Cllrs Shiraz Khan and Gulfraz Nawaz. Concerns were also raised by the Normanton ward councillors, Cllrs Hardyal Dhindsa, Jangir Khan & Balbir Sandhu. However, because of the limited grounds for objection within the Gambling Act we are unable to effectively challenge such applications. The Council also has no planning powers to prevent the change of use to a betting shop. I feel strongly that the views of local people should be considered; it cannot be right that betting shops can set up wherever they choose without restriction and this cannot be good for the local economy or the wider community.

I am also concerned that within these betting shops there has been a growth in the number of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) or high stakes machines, on which someone can bet £100 every 20 seconds. I do not believe that this type of gambling machine belongs in a betting shop and they should be removed, but we have no powers to control this.

I believe that the government needs to act now to place better controls over betting shops or give those powers to local authorities. At the next Council meeting I will be asking for support from all Council members in agreeing for me to write to the Secretary of State seeking urgent action to control the proliferation of betting shops and these high-stake machines.”

The number of betting shops nationally has risen from 8,500 to 9,100 in the past 2 years. Derby currently has 40 licensed betting shops.

What a result for the Rams!

Wow – what a result from DCFC this weekend in their biggest win over the red dogs since 1898!

It’s times like this that it is impossible not to be proud of Derby, and as a true Derbian and long-time supporter of the club I’m extremely pleased with the result – and honestly; we deserved the win.

After not scoring for the last four matches the Derby boys brought this one home, and what cracking goals from Bryson! As for Forest and using injuries as the excuse – if that makes them feel better, then fine, but you know that Derby controlled that game!

Come on you Rams!

Tony Benn

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Tony Benn, one of the great British socialists and labour party stalwart of the 20th Century.

Tony Benn was a man of conviction and campaigning fire, whether it be nuclear disarmament or the role of Britain in Europe.

I will be writing to his son Hilary Benn MP to express my condolences formally.

Marble Hall transformation into community hub for Osmaston

Guest post by Councillor Robin Turner, Labour Member for Sinfin and Osmaston areas of Sinfin Ward.

Robin - garden - beard - new picI am keen to learn of the outcome of tonight’s Council meeting, which I hope will be the positive decision to approve the funding needed to refurbish the iconic and historical Marble Hall, enabling it to transform into a major community hub for the Osmaston Neighbourhood.

Marble Hall is a much loved building within Osmaston, not only by former Rolls-Royce employees but also by the local community. This is an important development, and the role played by members of the community through OSCAR has been fantastic, and I’m also pleased with the involvement of local Councillors for Sinfin for their efforts in promoting the plan through the Council.

This is one of the most exciting refurbishment projects in the country. The Marble Hall is an iconic building which will remain at the heart of the Osmaston community for many years and will attract visitors from Derby and surrounding areas when the work has been completed.

The Council has worked closely with OSCAR and local community groups to ensure that this beautiful building meets the needs of local people and will encourage jobs and investment in the local area, and I am delighted that we are now going to see another milestone achieved due to the activity of residents through OSCAR.

I for one have waited a long time for this day, and have supported this project or a long time so I wish this regeneration project to be a huge success for Osmaston.

Background to the Marble Hall project

Rolls-Royce occupied the site on Nightingale Road from 1907 to 2011. The Marble Hall building was constructed as offices in 1912 and extended to include the Marble Hall in the 1930’s. Although some remodelling has taken place, many original features remain including a staircase from 1912, the 1930’s wood panelled Board Room and the Marble Hall, with its Tuscan style polished limestone columns.

In 2007, Rolls-Royce relocated their activities from this site to new sites within Derby, leaving the Nightingale Road site vacant. In 2011, all buildings on the site were demolished, with the exception of the Marble Hall which was retained, achieving grade ii listed building in 2009, pending development as a Community facility.

Rolls – Royce has agreed to transfer the building and some surrounding amenities to Derby City Council in order for the refurbishment work to begin. In partnership with Osmaston Community Association of Residents (OSCAR), some of the design and refurbishment has already been agreed. There will be meeting rooms, nursery and café as part of the new community facility that will play a significant part in the wider Osmaston Regeneration area project.

The estimated cost for refurbishment works, including all project management, architect and legal fees is estimated at around £3.938 million.

Bombardier: a signal of our engineering excellence

Councillor Ranjit Banwait

Councillor Ranjit Banwait

Guest post by the Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Ranjit Banwait

Later today (Friday 28th February) the Mayor of Derby and I will welcome a delegation from Bombardier Transportation to the Council House for a special Mayoral reception.

We will be congratulating the Bombardier team on their successful bid for the Crossrail contract – a £1.3 billion contract that secures local jobs up and down the supply chain, and protects the future of the rail industry in Derby.

It’s a great moment not just for Bombardier but for the city as a whole. It proves yet again that Derby is a world centre for advanced engineering, particularly in the transport sector, and a powerhouse of the UK economy.

Just take a look at the AVENTRA train that Bombardier is developing, with its focus on reliability and engineering excellence. It just shows that if you need to push the boundaries in the fields of planes, trains or automobiles, then Derby’s skilled workers are the people to do it.

At the reception later today, I’ll be telling Bombardier that this administration has been proud to support them, and proud to have invested in the city’s economy through initiatives like the Derby Enterprise Growth Fund in order to create jobs and attract investment. It’s through initiatives like this and the upcoming Infinity Park Derby, and through exciting leisure and cultural developments like Derby Arena, that we have helped put Derby on the map and make it one of the top cities in Europe for investment potential.

On a day like today, I truly feel proud of Derby – and proud of the exciting future that lies ahead of us.

'Derby celebrates Bombardier'