Investment News | 25 June 2024

Green light for £75m Friar Gate Goods Yard scheme

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Planning permission has been secured for a £75 million project to redevelop the city’s historic Friar Gate Goods Yard.

Derby City Council has approved proposals by Wavensmere Homes and Clowes Developments to reanimate two landmark Grade II listed buildings on the 11.5-acre site into over 110,000 sq ft of commercial space, with 276 new homes.

A painstaking restoration of the 19th Century Bonded Warehouse and Engine House is set to deliver a total of 111,275 sq ft of flexible offices, health and fitness space, a restaurant/café, together with a regional sales centre for Wavensmere.

James Dickens, managing director at Wavensmere Homes, said: “Receiving the green light at committee for the reanimation of this significant historic landmark has been six years in the making.

“There has been a tremendous amount of effort by our multi-disciplinary team – working alongside Tom Clowes and Tom Morley of Clowes Developments – to get to this fantastic result.

“It is very rare to have a such a large, primely located asset of this architectural quality that has lain derelict for so long – since 1972. Bringing it back into public use will have a transformational impact on Derby’s landscape, supported by much-needed attainable city centre housing.”

The plans also include extensive new areas of public open space, including play spaces and pocket parks.

A new multi-purpose public realm and community space is also planned for the elevated area adjacent to Friar Gate Bridge, with retention of some of the original railway arch facades.

New vehicular, pedestrian and cycle access would be created at various points around the site, from Uttoxeter New Road, Great Northern Way, and Friar Gate, with the Mick Mack cycling route also extended.

Wavensmere Homes and Clowes Developments worked with Glancy Nicholls Architects and Pegasus Group to incorporate the views from over 200 local public consultation responses into the comprehensive plans for the redevelopment of the derelict site.

According to Wavensmere, strong interest has already been received from prospective operators of the health and fitness centre, office space, and the restaurant/café – all of which will be within the Bonded Warehouse.

The housebuilder also has a database of more than 500 prospective purchasers wishing to buy one of the townhouses, indicating the pent-up demand and appeal.

Friar Gate Goods Yard has been in the ownership of the Clowes family for more than 40 years, with a number of options for redevelopment proposed but not progressed, due to heritage constraints and commercial viability.

Friar Gate Goods Yard was intended as the main goods depot for the Great Northern Railway line, to handle coal, livestock, timber, and metals.

Designed in 1870, and entering operation in 1878, the Bonded Warehouse building contained extensive warehouse space and offices. It was used as a store for the American Army in the Second World War to house ammunition and other supplies.

The Engine House was also built for the Railway by Kirk & Randall of Sleaford.

It supplied power to the hydraulic lifts and capstans at the Bonded Warehouse.

The site first became derelict in 1967, and over time became overgrown and fell into a poor state of repair.

James said: “With the full support of the city council’s planning department and planning committee, we look forward to commencing the restoration and construction work – to fulfil our promise.

“The fine attention to detail and £75 million investment we will inject in the reanimation of Friar Gate Goods Yard will see it become a nationally important trophy asset in Derby’s ongoing renaissance.”

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