Assembly Rooms fire: Council tries to recover £5.5m loss

Assembly Rooms car park
Image caption Witnesses said the "large, thick, black smoke" could be seen for miles

A council is trying to claim £5.5m from insurers to cover its losses from a fire that damaged a multi-storey car park and entertainment venue.

The Assembly Rooms in Derby has been closed since the fire at its car park on 14 March.

The estimated money lost includes the cost of repairing the damage and loss of revenue.

Derby City Council has not yet decided whether to repair the venue, upgrade it or build a new one in another location.

The council told BBC Radio Derby: "We are in advanced discussions with the insurers with a view to reaching a cash settlement for the losses incurred at the Assembly Rooms.

"The figure quoted is the council's current estimate of the loss."

The majority of the damage was to the plant room at the top of the car park, which supplied the Assembly Rooms with electricity, gas, air conditioning and water.

The Assembly Rooms itself suffered smoke damage.

Image caption Fire damage was restricted to the plant room at the top of the car park

The venue normally hosts events including concerts, children's shows, pantomimes, trade exhibitions and conferences.

The council was due to decide before Christmas whether to repair it or build a new one, but has now said it will make an announcement in March.

One idea being considered it to build a new Assembly Rooms in Duckworth Square, behind the old Debenhams store.

The former site could then be used for shops and housing.

The city council previously said insurance was unlikely to cover the full cost of returning the venue to its original state, so it would have to dip into its reserves no matter what.

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