Saga of ugliest eyesore in Derby could soon end
A RUBBISH-STREWN patch of ground in Derby city centre which has lain vacant for a decade could finally come into use as a temporary car park, if councillors' plans get the go-ahead.
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 and the owner of the land, Metropolitan Housing Trust, which had previously wanted to put low-cost housing on the land, is looking to sell it.
Now councillors believe the city council should be the buyer, with the land, at first, turned into a temporary car park.
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The plans are in their early stages, with the authority unable to give details of how much this would cost or where the money would come from.
But the council's corporate scrutiny and climate change board, made up of nine councillors, has recommended the move as part of a report on how the authority could help regenerate parts of the city centre.
It says the council should "seriously consider the feasibility of acquiring the site to prevent it from becoming sterile".
The report adds that it should: "Subject to current funding constraints... convert the site to a temporary car park so that it is not an eyesore and detrimental to the local community".
Paul Bennett, the manager of Metro Inns Derby, in nearby Macklin Street, had previously said Duckworth Square was "bringing Derby down".
He said he believed the car park change would be positive but that new development was needed on the site. He said: "It's revolting at the moment. I would think they wouldn't have to do too much to it if they used it as a car park, just clear it up and open the gates. But it would just be full of cars and the area needs a bit of colour."
Duckworth Square forms part of the 3.5-acre Becketwell area of the city, which includes Victoria Street.
The road was a busy part of the city but footfall dropped after Debenhams moved to Westfield.
The former department store building is owned by Westfield which, says the report, has a covenant preventing "certain types of development in order for Westfield to protect its interests".
It is recommended that the council "proactively engages" with Westfield and other developers to come up with a strategy for increasing Victoria Street footfall.
The recommendations will be put to the council's cabinet.