Derby City Council will only buy 'eyesore' Duckworth Square site as a last resort, says leader
THE leader of Derby City Council is keeping tight-lipped over the future of Derby's "eyesore" Duckworth Square but did say that buying it would be a last resort for the authority.
Duckworth Square was once home to a shopping, centre but the buildings were torn down in 2003.
It has yet to be redeveloped despite a number of proposals. Metropolitan Housing Trust, which had previously wanted to put low-cost housing on the site, is looking to sell it.
Yesterday, it was revealed that the authority's corporate scrutiny and climate change board, which is looking at ways the authority could help regenerate the city centre, suggested the council should "seriously consider acquiring" Duckworth Square to turn it into a "temporary car park".
The idea was welcomed by a local businessman who wanted to see the rubbish-strewn site back in use. Councillor Paul Bayliss, leader of the council, said: "We would only purchase if it became absolutely necessary. Our discussions with Metropolitan have not considered that option. Other options are on the table that do not require such an intervention by us."
Duckworth Square forms part of the 3.5-acre Becketwell area. If the council was to buy the site, Mr Bayliss said the money would come from a capital programme aimed at regenerating the Becketwell area of the city.
Mr Bayliss said: "The cabinet would have to agree to the detailed expenditure on Duckworth Square.
"If this was for car park use, then it would go to planning committee if necessary, although its previous use was as a car park and so permission may only be needed on the detailed design."
Mr Bayliss said the authority had estimated a cost for creating the car park but did not say what that figure was.
Becketwell was a busy part of the city but the number of people visiting the area dropped after Debenhams moved to Westfield.
The council is now being urged to boost it.