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Could Derby get a music venue to rival Rock City?


Derby could soon have a music venue to rival the likes of Rock City in neighbouring Nottingham.

The city’s former Hippodrome theatre could become a live music venue under plans currently being considered.

A report from consultants looking into the future of the historic building, which dates back to 1914, has come up with a new plan.

Consultants Bonnar Keenlyside were appointed last November to explore the long- and short-term possibilities for the site, and assess how it fits within the cultural, social and economic needs of the city of Derby.

They have been funded through the Theatres Trust’s Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme.

Original plans were for the building to return as a theatre but their report says the Hippodrome would be more viable as a venue for the alternative live music scene, “similar in style to Rock City”.

Bonnar Keenlyside co-founder Anne Bonnar said: “There are some really great venues, artists and bands on the music scene in Derby.

“To develop this further, a larger openly available space is required, a place that is centred around music and people.

“It will be important to get young people involved from the very start to ensure they are fully engaged in the civic and cultural life of the city.

“Partnership working has to be ingrained from the outset. This can be achieved through an incremental approach – both in terms of the building and the activities that will take place there.”

Development could begin with phase one focusing on offices, workshops, a café, and outdoor areas with temporary pop-up facilities.

Phase two could see a permanent music venue, possibly including a nightclub or other live music provision in the basement with a capacity of up to 500.

Total construction costs could be around £6.5 million, with a total project cost of £8 million excluding the cost of buying the site.

A longer term plan would involve a third phase, which could be the creation of an additional music venue of with a capacity of 1,000 – which could be used three or four times a week to start with.

The consultants say investment could come from public funders including Historic England, D2N2LEP, Derby City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The immediate priority, it says, would be to stabilise the building, which is owned by a commercial developer.

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