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Dubrek Studios’ community facility to be demolished and made ‘homeless’ by Council’s flawed planning.

The planned £45m Becketwell Performance Venue comes at a price for 2 community facilities in Derby – the Padley Centre, and Dubrek Studios.  The neighbouring properties,  situated on Becket Street,  are both due to be demolished in the next few months. The Padley Centre will receive in excess of £1m to secure its future elsewhere in the City, Dubrek Studios will receive nothing!

Dubrek Studios( Left) : Padley Centre (Right) on Becket Street, Derby

Why is Padley being paid so much?

The Council’s Core Strategy provides the local policies for planning decisions, one of those policies is Community Facilities (CP21). This obligates the Developer ( in this case St James’ Securities) to relocate “community facilities” where they are active.

The National Planning Policy Framework (187)– the national  reference document for planning decisions ,states “…community facilities (such as places of worship, pubs, music venues and sports clubs)”.

In the planning application documents that were approved on 7th October 2021 (p.80) it refers to the actions to relocate the Padley Centre and the United Reform Church.

“ This full application seeks to demolish a series of existing buildings… the demolition of no. 6 Becket Street [Dubrek Studios] and the Padley Centre are in addition. The Padley Centre is a community use and therefore its loss needs to be considered under the provisions of policy CP21.”

The application goes on to say:

“…In short, there are measures in place to provide financial support to facilitate the acquisition of an alternative community and warehousing facility which will enable the Padley Group to expand their existing service offer”

This financial support from Derby City Council, which will be well in excess of £1m, includes

  1. The purchase of the freehold of Padley House from Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing.
  2. The purchase of the leasehold of Padley House from the Padley Group
  3. The purchase of the freehold of the Padley Centre warehouse from the Padley Group
  4. The purchase of a property for Padley to move into
  5. The renovation of the new property for Padley to use.

Originally the purchase of the new property was going to be the subject of a loan from the Council – this will now become a non-repayable grant.

 The above financial support, funded by Derby City Council ,  is a condition of the St James Securities planning application, mandated by Derby City Council, as the planning authority.

What is Dubrek Studios?

It was formed in June 2002 by Jay Dean as a studio and music venue.  It became a home for many Derby bands, as well as artists from further afield,  nationally and internationally. In addition to playing and recording, it has workshop space and a café.  2000 people a year attend the weekly gigs, 1500 people at workshops and 250-300 artists per week are using the various facilities.

When Jay moved into 6 Becket Street, which is owned by Eurodollar, it was in a bad state. With his own personal efforts, and money, together with the support of volunteers it has been renovated and converted into a popular music venue – a community facility.

The building is due to be demolished in the next few months and they have nowhere to go, no financial support from Derby City Council or from St James’ Securities.

Funding

The paper to be discussed at next week’s Cabinet meeting regarding the Padley relocation states that the Council could reduce the cost of the move by applying for a government Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). 

This funding is available for those businesses that have been severely affected by Coronavirus Act restrictions. Whilst the Government is giving local Councils freedom to decide the eligibility it does “encourage” it to be used on businesses in hospitality, events, tourism. The purpose of the grant is not to facilitate a major commercial development.

There is no suggestion that an ARG can be used for a hostel for homeless people, however a music venue would be a prime candidate.  Jay has been advised by Derby City Council that no funding through this source is possible, now.

Comment

The re-development of the Becketwell area including the Performance venue  is clearly good for the City.

St James Securities ( recent winner of the “Deal of the Year” at the East Midlands Property Dinner awards for the Becketwell regeneration) signed a deal with Derby City Council for the venue for £45m, for a building that will cost around £36m.

 Becketwell Performance Venue: subsidy could require 1.5% Council Tax increase

When the plans for the Performance Venue were unveiled it was clear that the Padley Centre and Dubrek Studios were going to be casualties.

St James Securities managed to convince Derby City Council that resolving the Padley Centre issue was the Council’s problem – one assumes that they didn’t want to erode their handsome profit or the inevitable bad publicity of evicting a homeless charity. In making this decision the cost of the Performance Venue to the Council will increase and be more like £48m.

The crux of the problem is that the Planning Officer, and the Committee, did not recognise that Dubrek Studios is a community facility. The Performance Venue planning permission should have mandated that the Developer funds the relocation of the Studios in line with the support given to Padley and, previously, the United Reform Church.

Various Council Officers, and Councillors, have become involved with Jay Dean but with seemingly little authority. St James Securities has not indicated that any support will be available.

Jay Dean doesn’t need much help. He needs support to find a property and a modest amount of grant funding to facilitate the re-location – an amount which will be insignificant compared to that gifted to Padley; support that should have been mandated as a matter of planning policy.

Postscript

The inspiration for Dubrek Studios came from a venue Jay visited in Rugby:

“This place sparked the idea of a multifunctional facility for Derby; a community hub for everyone to use, meet up and create new music.”

Something that will be lost, forever, if Derby City Council and St James Securities don’t take positive action, soon,  before the bulldozers arrive.

This, in the year when Derby enters the race to be the City of Culture in 2025.

Categories: Uncategorized

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