'Blot on the landscape of our city centre'
A DERELICT patch of ground that once housed a shopping centre has been accused of "bringing Derby down" by a business owner.
The manager of Metro Inns Derby, in Macklin Street, has criticised the rubbish-strewn state of Duckworth Square, saying the litter and filth on show put people off the area.
Paul Bennett, who has run the business for more than a year, made the comments as part of the Telegraph's Clean Up Derby campaign to clear the city's streets of rubbish.
After we launched the campaign, several readers mentioned Duckworth Square, which has been empty and disused since 2003.
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Mr Bennett said: "The Street Pride team comes here at the weekends, when things are at their worst.
"But there are so many takeaways that, after a Friday or Saturday night, it is covered in drinks cans and chip packets.
"But Duckworth Square itself is chained off, so no-one can get in and clean it up.
"As soon as people come in to the street, they see that and they lose all hope of enjoying the place. It just brings the city down and our business is right next to it."
Duckworth Square, which dates back to 1962, was torn down in 2003.
Since then, little has been done with the land. Privately owned and locked up, it has become a dumping ground.
Clint Stevenson, who lives in Macklin Street, said he would like to see the land used for recreation.
The 31-year-old, who lives with his partner and three children, said: "I have two disabled children and they would love a play park or a skate park.
"But instead it's full of junk and rubbish and you've got homeless people sleeping there. It just makes the area look neglected and horrible."
Derby city councillor Fareed Hussain, who represents the Arboretum ward, said there were no plans to develop Duckworth Square.
He said: "It is owned by a housing association. In the past, there was a plan to move the council headquarters there, and another plan to build a supermarket, but none of these progressed.
"It's one of the highest priorities for the council right now to develop the site."
The Clean Up Derby campaign, which wants to see people take more responsibility by using bins, has already highlighted several rubbish hot spots.
These include an old Rolls-Royce car park in Nightingale Road, Osmaston, and the car park of the William Caxton pub, in Sunny Hill.
The campaign has received support from the Mayor of Derby, the Bishop of Derby and several city councillors. A motion is being presented to the council today, asking for all members to back it.