Inside Westfield Derby
The Big Picture: Westfield opens
The doors open to Derby's new £340m shopping centre - but what effect is it going to have on this area?
Derby's new shopping centre opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, 9th October 2007.
Westfield Centre - Traffic Street roundabout
The £340m Westfield development features nearly 150 shops, dozens of eateries and a cinema.
The centre will stay open later and the road lay-out around it has been altered to accommodate an anticipated increase in shoppers.
Some people think the new development can only be a positive thing for the prosperity of Derby but others are worried it could have a negative impact - and aren't happy with Westfield's approach.
You can read two sides of the argument below - and then have your say using the form at the bottom.
Chris Brown is a partner at estate agents Boxall, Brown and Jones on Iron Gate in Derby.
He's also President of the National Association of Estate agents and has worked in the industry for 33 years.
He said: "It's exactly what Derby needs. It's a great hook into the city. It's bright and refreshing and they've used glass really well so it's light and airy inside. You almost feel like you're outside!
"It sits very well with what's around it. Westfield should be congratulated on moulding around what was already there and enhancing it."
Andrew Mogg is a member of the public who took a tour of the new centre in February and has watched the development come together. He says he's feeling a little underwhelmed.
He said: "The overall design of this project is a disappointment, they are merely adding an extension to the 1970's build Eagle Centre, to the standards of shopping centre's built in the 1980's.
"This is not a building to take Derby into the 21st Century. I doubt people will travel far from outside the city to visit this place more than once."
There are also concerns that trade around the Victoria Street area of Derby could be hurt by Debenhams' move into the Westfield Centre.
It's very smart, but we will only truly be able to judge its success when the new Bus Station & Inner Ring Road are completed, and it is properly connected to the road & public transport network. What is the programme to complete them? It could be years before they are both finished!
Meanwhile, a major bus departure point is still in Victoria St. - outside the old Debenhams - and that is more than 1/2 mile away from the furthest end of the new Centre!
Ken, Hatton, Derbyshire
I have popped into the new centre on my lunch break to have a look round and it does look great.
The concerns have are for the quirky and unique section of Sadler Gate and surrounding area. These shops are small, independant, unique and give great character to Derby in a beautiful historic environment. Lets not forget these shops.
The giant empty buildings of old M&S, Debenhams, Next etc could still pull in other quality business such as John Lewis and House of Fraser. The question is has anyone told them we are here????
I think the new centre is a fine addition to the city, though like it or not Derby's retail offer has been in decline for years due to the close proximity of Birmingham, Nottingham and Meadowhall - improving the retail was never going to be easy.
I have my concerns for the Northern end of town, Primark is rumoured to move into one of the old M&S and I hope it does so - one or two prominent retailers to replace Debenhams and M&S should be good enough.
Then again I can't say in 20 years of my existence i've ever shopped at M&S and Debenhams....
I am so impressed with our new shopping center. It makes a nice, refreshing change to have something as up to date and modern as it is. Instead of feeling like i have to travel a distance to do my shopping in another town, i will now enjoy whats on my door step. It is fantastic and never thought i would see Derby look like it does.
Claire Seal, Stenson Fields
The new centre is excellent for Derby. Shopping in Derby will be transformed. It will act as catalyst for future developments, I have heard Primark will be moving into the old M&S building in the Cornmarket as they own it (Is this true?). I believe vacant shops will be filled quickly. Although the Audley Centre and surrounding area need redeveloping this could be a site for a new John lewis or House of Fraser. Also the Catherdral Quarter needs to be developed as an alternative to Westfield. Get a move on with those proposed St James Yard and Bold Lane re-developments.
I wish would stop rubishing the new westfield development. i am 68 years old and for me this development is derbys best ever leap foward. i can,t wait to see the completed bus station and river lights project and we can also look foward to the rotunda precinct project on the site of the old dukworth square and i believe the debenhams site.
Why all the moaners about the shops not being filled in at St Peters street, give it time and things will get back to normal and a Primarks where Marks & Spencers used to be will get the ball rolling. I have heard off a good mate of mine up in Derby that works for cityscape that John lewis is looking at Derby and House of Frazer also and could be as early as start of next year, but not for Westfields...so maybe the Irongate/Sadlergate area or even where Debenhams was might be the future place for John lewis or house of frazer.
People may put down the centre because of the architecual design, but come on, we have needed this for years.
No-one has a right to moan about the new centre, mostly because what was on the site before was a set of basic steel shops and a worn out forecourt of shops that were massivley worn out with 80's designed buildings unlike Westfield Derby's 21'st century look!
Joshua Elyard, Derby
Hail the megalith, lets all pray to Mammmon and ignore the individuality and flair that anything indepedent might offer. This is going to turn Derby into just another faceless city centre whereby we all succumb to the God of Consumerism at whatever the cost to our city or individuality.
As for "old people moaning about change" its only the folly of immaturity that sees change as good without being able to question it from both sides. How insultingly trifling that comment is. How about some REAL debate about the issues BEFORE they impact on us, or is that too democratic?
St Peter's Street used to be the hub of Derby and today, the first day the centre opened it was a vast expance of empty shops. We couldn't keep Gap, so what makes Westfield think we can cope with all the designer shops it has to offer?
I would love Derby to be my first shopping destination but I'm not convinced just yet.
The new centre is very impressive. But I think it could have gone further. There are still stores mainly John Lewis and House of Fraser, which Derby still hasn't got.
I hope Westfield look at redeveloping the old center, including the market. Ideally I would like to see the market demolished and all the stores moved into the Guildhall market. It's just an idea.
Great start, and with the riverlights project Derby is on it's way to becoming a vibrant metropolitan city, I look forward to it.
I was at work today in one of the few shops that hasnt moved to the new centre and it was empty most of the day!
I hope this is not always going to be the case and I am sure it wont be once people have gotten used to the new centre being there!
I would like to know what will be happening to the shops which have been left in Derby, due to them moving to the new Centre.
Shops like Debenhams store, the two Marks and Spencer's stores, New Look, Lush for just a few. Will they just be left or are there any plans for them?
Westfield is Derby's latest flood defence bank - the City does not even have a flood risk strategy and the River Derwent has flooded over six times in the last 50 years - I don't suppose any of these stores have extra flood risk insurance do they?
D. Leakey, Derby
As a Londoner up for the opening on Tuesday, I was nothing but impressed by the centre. After reading ALL the comments on this website, I am shocked to see so many people complaining and its this kind of attitude that halts cities from moving forward.
As a trader in the potential 'dead zone' on Green Lane I would hope that the Westfield centre itself will live up to its responsibility to encourage their customers to 'stray' outside the centre with positive advertising and proactive opportunities for external businesses.
The centre will only be good for Derby if its contribution overcomes the potential negative effects. This of course also depends on the people of Derby themselves. If they do not leave the centre they will be the masters of this 'dead zone'.
One of the benefits of the Westfield the large number of Jobs being created in Derby, but Derby still needs more Jobs in Derby. The old areas of Derby needs to bring stores like John Lewis, Gap, Virgin Mega store, and the House of Fraser to these locations to attract more customers. But I have been informed John Lewis have been in contact with Marketing Derby regarding a move to Derby and the House of Fraser have sent managers to look at sites in Derby. Derby need to bid for Government money to develop the area with private business money to develop and expand the area and make it compete with other areas of Derby.
In the future Derby will face competition from other Cities like Nottingham have agree to build a new £700 million Superscentre that will have a large supermarket, Large Bus Station and over 350 stores including stores found in London high streets. The whole of Derby needs help to compete with this development because people will leave and shop in Nottingham affecting Derby jobs.
I am wondering will Westfield develop the old Eagle Centre into a two storey centre to similar to the new centre in the future and what other plans westfiled will have for Derby in the Future
My comments are two fold, one for the new centre and one against - YOU make up your own mind!
While the new shopping extension to the Eagle Centre is impressive, I am concerned as to what will happen to the vacant store/shop premises left by Marks and Spencer,Debenhams etc.Will these be left to decay? As I see it, the new centre will drain all other shopping areas of the city and no new stores will take over the large sites left by stores moving to the new centre. I have to admit though, Derby has to move with the times and to ensure it retains or increases it's share of the shopping public and spends the new centre was well over due.
Tony R, Alfreton
People who live in Derby might prefer to stay in Derby to shop now but I don't believe that people from outside would prefer Derby to Nottingham.
What will happen to the old M & S and Debenhams buildings, who will move in there?
It may be a great place to shop but I, like many people who have some degree of disability, will rarely go there until there is better transport. My bus ends its journey opposite the assembly rooms and it is a long walk from there to the new centre. On saturday I bought the last food I will buy from Marks and Spencers for some time. It is easier for me to catch the red arrow bus into Nottingham and hence go straight into the Victoria centre!! I would far rather support Derby shops but this is not likely to happen for the time being!!
I am not sure that Derby can support that amount of Designer Shops. It was quite surprised to see how much was there. I think the main impact will be on Nottingham.
Craig Reeves, Allenton
the shopping centre is absolutely wonderful. it's like waking-up on Christmas morning, and everything is sparkling and brand spanking new...
Phil Campbell, Derby
Walking down St Peter's street early this morning, it was quite sad to see several shops closed as I'm used to them being there for so long, but, I am really looking forward to the new shopping centre and seeing what it has to offer. I just hope that the regeneration continues to include St Peters street and the area around Debenhams and help Derby to become a great place to visit and not just the Westfield Centre. Please, bring back Primark!!!
Lets hope the rest of the town survives, especially the smaller independant retailers, who through no fault of their own, suddenly find themselves out of the way. What happens when these new shoppers to Derby leave the 'centre' and see the streets such as St Peters Street full off empty shops, surely they will just turn round and go back to the 'centre', not bothering to explore the real shops who offer different products from the 'high street norm'. Lets help the independents by promoting in the same way westfield has been promoted, places like Green Lane, St. Peter's Church Yard etc. Don't let the town lose its originality
It looks very nice, but there's a danger it looks just the same as any other large city shopping centre. As an owner of a business outwith Wesfield I just hope people will come out of Westfield and look at the other shops in the city like Saddlergate Irongate, Green Lane etc. I think the independent clothes retailers will be the hardest hit. It's got to be a positive for the city lets hope it spreads across the city, so we all share the customers.
Anthony Hughes, Mickleover
I think it's just what Derby needs, and it looks very nice and feels very american
Vivienne Watson, Chaddesden
For 3 years of my life I had to walk the lovely route of the station walk everyday and so I really saw the new Westfield centre take shape from just a pit.
To be honest when I looked at the first proposed pictures I was in awe of the design but also felt a bit sceptical of the long-term effects.
Looking at it now though it definitely makes a statement to other cities about where Derby's going in the future for shopping and entertainment.
I admire Westfield's vision to look at the whole picture instead of just the shopping centre itself, aside from the narrow-minded comments from some people I've read.
It's funny when I hear Derby people moan that we haven't got enough shops in Derby yet when we get a massive overhaul they still moan that it's too invasive!
Basically, it's just that some of the older folk are abviously not going to like 'change' especially when it's this big, we just need to stick our hands up and embrace it!
And I'm sorry the thing about the other end of Derby becoming dead and dangerous is absolute nonsense, most of the shops that are going or hoping to trade inside the new centre are either already in there or they're a new brand that we haven't had so it's not like the shops are all going to disappear over night! And anyway Westfield also own the old debenhams building, trust me I know I used to work there only months ago, so I'm sure it'll become something just as good sooner or later.
As to the question of dragging and attracting people to the other end of the city centre, the answer is simple, 'PRIMARK' put it anywhere, even on the moon and people will flock there in droves guaranteed!
Finally just to say, I don't see why alot of the older generation moan anyway because I'm sure when they were younger they were telling their parents that'll be ok, that the eagle centre and castlefields will be great for the city so your just all being hypocrits!
Westfield Shopping Centre is something Derby has needed for far too long and it's about time we had something as good as this happen to us.
What will happen to the East Steet area now that Debenhams and M&S have moved into the new centre? Will it be packed out with bars and only come alive at night, or will it be like Friargate was twenty years ago -all boarded up and derelict?
Don't rate Chris Brown's views but then wouldn't expect anything else from an estate agent. The building is incongruous, completely out of scale and it is all too apparent that little attention has been paid to how people will interact with the structure and how it relates to other buildings.
Penny De Abreu, Derby
Well, I'm one of the 'moaners', simply because of the sheer ugliness of the new centre, with its great grey box looming like a curse over our small city. I am all for innovative modern architecture, especially when combined with trees and other greenery. The Wesfield centre is not innovative nor is it green in any sense. It's uninspiring and depressing...the greatest planning disaster to be inflicted on our city in many years!
Bill Grange, Derby
There is no argument that the centre will create new jobs and provided a much needed upgrade for the Eagle centre, which is brilliant.
What concerns me is the rest of the city centre. I walk through from the "cathedral quarter" (a fantastic area) down to the Westfield and all I seemed to see on Saturday was "To let" signs.
Are we creating a fragmented city with a dead zone in the centre where a few businesses are desparately trying to stay afloat? Few visitors will stray beyond Westfield and it concerns me that we will lose even more of our independent shops.
As for the design, the frontage looks great and by all accounts so does the inside, but couldn't there have been a better design than the HUGE big grey box that now dominates the Derby skyline from all angles?
It's just what Derby needs. We always seem to be second best.
The only problem I can see is getting to it we have not shopped in Derby for two or three years now due to high parking charges and traffic congestion.
Michael Frearson, Derby
The centre will be great and I am looking forward to the improvement it brings. I only wish, as has been said before that the "anchor" tenants could have been new companies, (John Lewis, Rackhams etc.) I fear that in the final analysis we have only moved our city centre to a better enviroment. However, it is an improvement, so well done to all involved.
Keith Whitehurst, Derby
Well said Patrick. I too am annoyed about the amount of moaning before it has even opened. It will be a spectacular thing to have in our city centre. Im also sick of hearing about how it hasnt got one of the big department stores or that the shops are what we already have, just moved into the new section. Have any of you seen the list of shops? Theres 150 odd and most of them are new to Derby. Just give it a chance, have a good look round and i bet you will all be singing its praises by the end of next week!
I agree with the earlier comment regarding the design being similar to those used in the 80s but overall it should lead to higher levels of employment. Derby has been growing bigger over the years and a construction like this was required to deal with the overall influx of additional shoppers. It would have been nice to follow in the footsteps of Meadowhall with free parking instead of charging such high prices and forcing people to park on the outskirts of the town.
I am looking forward to visiting the new Westfield Centre, but PLEASE, PLEASE will someone ANSWER the question as to WHEN we may expect a new Bus Station, so that shoppers will have a more pleasant experience of shopping in Derby than the present one of standing around in crowds in pouring rain and cold winds waiting for buses to negotiate two traffic islands amid traffic jams! Perhaps someone can assure us that we will in fact have a new bus station and when, or, as is feared, has the land been sold for other development? Are we the only City in the country with no Bus Station? We are in danger of losing all the retail trade to the more progressive city of Nottingham in respect of shoppers who travel to the City by bus.
S Lunn, Kilburn
Derby should be happy for Westfield because it created over 3000 jobs for Derby people but Westfield could have added a 3rd floor creating over 200 stores and bring stores like Iceland, Tesco, John lewis, Pet shops, banks, vigin megastore health centres and other stores found in London and West midlands. The worry is the revamp of Broadmarsh centre. It will create a 350 store outlet Bars, 1200 seating food outlet, large bus station twice the size of Derby and open later upto 12am 6 days. This centre may cause shops and other business to forget Derby and choose Nottingham instead.
I don't think Derby is big enough to sustain a large shopping centre new shops might open but how soon will they close and it will become a white elephant. We have had good names before including Gap but they didn't last long. I hope I'm proved wrong!
I think it will be brilliant for Derby, I think it will open up more oppurtunities for the city in the long run. Also I think it looks great and will be a lot better for christmas shopping if it rains!
I hope there are plans to do something to still draw people up to the other end of the town though as I would hate to see all that to just stay quiet. The only thing that I don't agree with is changing all the names of things (the shopping centre & car park) I think they should have stayed the same & it is a shame that Westfield have decided to do this.
I am sick of people knocking it before it is even opened, moaning about the box on top and it being a monstrosity and so on.
FGS it is bringing Jobs and money into our city and making it a better place to live & work.....the same goes for Riverlights and the new Jury's doyles Hotel soon to be built in Derby.
Why oh why is there a lot of moaners in Derby I did not realise till the new Westfield centre was getting built just how many there is.
The shopping experience will not be improved because the shops will be the same as we already have.
We need more prestigious shops like John Lewis, House of Frazer, Selfridges or Harvey Nicholls. All Derby is doing is moving the same shops into the new centre and the old shops will become derelict.
Chris Smith, Derby
I am really looking forward the new shopping centre - Derby's time is coming. It will bring people here to enjoy all of the city not just the new shopping centre. This is a chance to show off and give our city a chance!
I was one of the fortunate few who were able to tour the inside of the new shopping centre when it was being built. I have to say it looks amazing and anyone who visits will be blown away be how great it looks and feels. Add to this the array of new stores and you have a great addition to our city centre.
Also, lets not forget how the city is changing because of Westfield, have you seen The Spot, East St and Albion St recently - they look fantastic. Westfield Derby can only be a good thing for the city. Roll on Tuesday!
last updated: 15/04/2009 at 15:46