The Derbyshire Skills event was recently held in the new Sports Centre in the Queen’s Park annexe, risking damage to the new floor of the sports hall.
It was open from 3pm to 8pm. It was very crowded and very noisy – hardly an ideal venue for either visitors or exhibitors. At Derby it ran for two days. It used to be held over two days in the old leisure centre.
However the council wants to demolish the old leisure centre saying that it’s use for exhibitions , artists’ studios events etc would be competing with existing attractions elsewhere in the town.
This would be true if it was being used to host events like conferences and concerts, but no-one is suggesting that. It could be used for antique fairs, craft fairs, other specialist fairs and the skills event. There would be conflict if such events were already being held in the town but potential promoters for such events find other town centre venues have difficult access, limited parking and are too small and so they don’t come to the town. Queen’s Park Leisure Centre has plenty of parking, easy access and is considerably bigger than the other venues.
With proper planning there need not be conflict with say Brampton food market, whose participants might well benefit from the exposure a three-day food fair could bring. And what about an arts festival at which all the local arts clubs and individuals could come together to exhibit? Why not move the artisan market in there during the winter months? There are a lot more possibilities.
The council is concerned that it would require significant subsidy but such events would give the council a source of income that it does not have at present and would bring people into the town, something it needs to do. Think again – once the venue is lost the opportunity for another one like it in the town centre is unlikely to occur again.