The River Navigation

The business opportunities presenting themselves at the Derby Arm boat lift don’t end at Pride Park. Successful completion of the Derby Arm would connect the River Derwent with the UK National Canal network meaning that the centre of Derby can step up to the next level of regeneration by introducing a vibrant waterfront that pulls in visitors.

This would follow the well tested recipe demonstrated in other cities such as Gloucester, Birmingham and Bristol.

Derby Waterfront

Just outside the city centre and downstream of the Bass Recreation Ground lies an unused piece of land that would be the ideal location for a large canal basin, and potentially a marina.

A canal basin in this location would have excellent boat, pedestrian and cycling links with both Derby railway station and the city centre. It is envisaged that the canal basin could host some exciting new venues including an iconic 5 star hotel, short term family apartments, family entertainment venues such as aquariums and activity centres as well as additional bars and restaurants. This location is naturally shielded from major roads at the same time as having good transport links, this would create a tranquil, leafy waterside zone ideal for hotels, exclusive apartments and relaxed waterside dining.

On the 14th November 2019, Marketing Derby Bondholder hosted a Bondholder Breakfast for the Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust. The event was to allow Bondholders to learn about the Trust’s plans to reconnect the river and canal systems using the revolutionary Derby Arm as well as the new river Trip Boat planned for the new year, and promote interest in the projects for future investment. The Trust is being supported by Derby City Council on this project.

The full presentation is available here. Note that the embedded videos in the presentation won’t work, so i’ve made the available below.

Derby Silk Mill

Boats sailing on, upriver from the marina would be able to travel as far as the Silk Mill by means of a river lock opposite the Council House.

By 2020 the Silk Mill will have completed its £20million restoration work and will be drawing an elevated number of visitors into the city. Having boats on the river would naturally complement the vision for the enhanced offering of the Silk Mill, especially if visitors had the option of travelling to the Silk Mill via an electric passenger river ferry. The stretch of river from the Bass Recreation Ground to the Silk Mill would also be the perfect location for restaurant boats as well as enhancing the amenity of existing waterside venues and residences.

Boat Traffic

The river lock would enable boats from the UK canal network to access Derby City Centre and bring a vibrant feel to the riverside in the very heart of the city.

Making this section of the river (which is already navigable) accessible to boats would introduce the opportunity of passenger ferries operating within the city. Electric, zero emission ferries could transport passengers from the city centre down to Pride Park venues such as the Derby County Stadium and the Arena. This could help remove cars from local roads and help improve air quality.

Nearer term the Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust are preparing an electric passenger trip boat to operate on a section of the river Derwent. See our page on the Derby River Boat to find out more.