Outcry after beloved Derby venue Dubrek Studios set to be demolished
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  • Post published:09/11/2021
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Outcry after beloved Derby venue Dubrek Studios set to be demolished

A crowdfunder campaign to save it looks to be inevitable

By Charlotte Krol

Black Heart
Unrelated image – London’s Black Heart. CREDIT: Jessica Lotti/Black Heart Crowdfunder

A music venue and community centre in Derby is due to be demolished next month in what its founder has claimed is a botched planning decision by the city council.

  • READ MORE: Music Venue Trust: “The whole grassroots music venue sector is now at critical, red alert status”

Becket Street’s Dubrek Studios is to be flattened along with the neighbouring Padley Centre in December as part of a multi-million-pound re-development of the city’s Becketwell area.

The Padley Centre, which houses a charity for disadvantaged people with a range of different needs, has been marked out as a “community facility” in planning documents, obligating developers to relocate community facilities where they are active. Financial support from Derby City Council in excess of £1million will help relocate the facility.

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But Dubrek Studios, which was formed in June 2002 by Jay Dean as a studio and music venue that has since gone on to found a cafe and workshop space, has been left out of the plans. Only The Padley Centre has been deemed as for “community use” [via Derby News].

The result is zero support for Dubrek Studios, which is visited by 2,000 people annually for the venue’s weekly gigs and 1,500 people for workshops. Between 250 and 300 artists per week use the site’s various facilities.

Developer St James’ Securities signed a £45million deal with the city council to develop a new venue, Becketwell Performance Venue, which itself will cost approximately £36million.

Neither the city council’s planning officer nor its committee has recognised that Dubrek Studios is a community facility, which Dean has disputed.

He argues that the performance venue planning permission should have mandated the developer funds the relocation of Dubrek Studios in line with the support given to Padley (and previously another building: the United Reform Church).

Dean said in a statement: “The council fully withdrew its funding offer to Dubrek back in September while bolstering the Padley Centre’s support to over £1m, which is now looking like it will be nearer to £2m in order to buy new premises and fit it out. I fully support the Padley Organisation being relocated but as a community based, cultural hub Dubrek also requires a level of support in order to continue, at a fraction of the cost.”

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He added that the redevelopment project was “instigated by the council” and therefore it should “compensate Dubrek for it”.

Supporters and visitors to Dubrek Studios have since suggested that Dean start a crowdfunder to relocate the music venue/community centre.

For now, Dean has urged people to put pressure on the Derby City Council leader to rethink the plans by emailing: [email protected]

Speaking to NME, Dean said he was “saddened and angry by the situation”. “Dubrek is a huge part of the music and arts community in Derby and the East Midlands and to lose it would be a tragedy,” he said. “There is an opportunity here for the council to step up and support Dubrek in the same way they’ve supported other businesses having to relocate.”

Asked if he would launch a crowdfunder should the city council not reconsider, he replied: “I don’t feel that financial burden should be put on my customers and the public. The loss of premises has been caused by a council instigated project so they need to finance a move.” 

He added: “I want to thank everyone for the huge amount of support and positivity towards Dubrek. It means an awful lot to me.”

The developer, St James Securities, has not indicated that it will provide any support to Dean and Dubrek Studios.

Dean originally established the venue using his own money and, together with the support of volunteers, renovated and converted the formerly neglected space into a popular local music venue and community facility.

Dream Nails, Lower Slaughter, Sly And The Family Drone, as well as local bands Grawlix and Pet Crow, are among some of the names who have performed at the venue.

The Subways threw their support behind the venue earlier today (November 8) writing on Twitter: “We lost our community venue – the irreplaceable @TheSquareHarlow
– and we can’t watch another community’s creative hub go the same way. We must do everything we can to pressure the powers that be to back down from this. Too much is being done to destroy the arts in this country.”

Proxy Music founder and music journalist James Thornhill added: “All the great bands that have played @dubrek know what it means as a space – @yourdreamnails @GrawlixBand @wearecowtown @NERVOUSTWITTA @lowerslaughter_ @petcrowband @cheapjazz @SLYFAMILYDRONE to name a few. In six weeks its gone with no support.”

Maxwell Avenue and other bands have also been selected by Dean to perform in the Dubrek live room at 12pm tomorrow (November 9) for BBC Radio Derby and 2pm on Wednesday (November 10) for BBC East Midlands Today for growing campaign coverage to save the venue.

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