Making conservation work for your BID today

An ambiguous title but it is meant to be! Conservation is not about creating museum-like streets from a time gone-by but it is about making the most of the fabric of your town or city centre and celebrating the character and making it relevant for today.

Derby’s Cathedral Quarter is a case in point, celebrated by Historic England and hailed nationally as ‘an example for other cities to follow’ having also won the national ‘Great British High Street’ award, city status.  The Cathedral Quarter BID developed and managed by pfbb UK since 2008, demonstrates how an area which had no real sense of ‘place’ or identity and was on the edge of decline and neglect, can be transformed into a thriving destination.

With the BID’s first vision for the area ‘to establish the Cathedral Quarter as a destination’ this clear sense of direction gave businesses confidence to invest, enabling grant funding to be awarded to property owners to refurbish old properties and celebrate the original Victorian and Edwardian features of the buildings.

Combined with a targeted approach to the tenant mix and marketing of the area, it has attracted new premium independent retailers together with national premium brand names such as Jack Wills, Joules, White Stuff and Dr Martens. The area is in demand now from business investors who recognise the re-generation of an area which had been a tired and redundant part of Derby’s city centre.

It has needed collaboration from all to make this work, Historic England, the BID, the Local Authority, the property owners and businesses, but with a clear vision and an ability to bring everyone together, conservation can play an important role in making a place work for the commercial world of today.