Latest News | 9 January 2024

Permission secured to breathe new life into former Bennetts store

Derby City Council
JSA Architects
Manston Investments
Armsons Barlow
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Commercial property investment company Manston Investments has secured planning permission and listed building consent to repurpose a historic property in Derby city centre.

The firm has been given the green light to breathe new life into 8-9 Iron Gate, know to many as the former Bennetts department store.

The property, which became vacant just before the first Covid lockdown, features more than 36,000 sq ft across four floors, as well as an extensive basement.

With the help of a local team, including architects JSA Architects and cost consultants Armsons Barlow, the approved scheme will provide a range of accommodation.

Partial demolition at the rear of number 8 will allow for secondary access and a goods receiving area – this will also facilitate better daylighting to the upper floors.

Internally, the former large single occupier space will be divided to cater for a variety of independent uses.

The approved plans show two smaller independent ground floor units fronting Iron Gate and suited to retail, food and beverage or other leisure uses.

There will be an independent suite of offices to the rear, and a first floor with potential for open plan or serviced office use. The upper floors show eight residential units.

Allowing for the proposed demolition, the building will offer a total area in its proposed format of approximately 30,000 sq ft.

Tom Boardman-Weston, director of Manston Investments, said: “This has been a lengthy process due to the historic single use nature of the building and also the Grade II listed status of number 9 Iron Gate.

“Repurposing the floorspace to attract a range of current day uses more readily has been a complicated task, but we are delighted that a way forward is now clearer.”

Chris Wood, owner of JSA Architects, said: “Our collaboration with Manston Investments on this project has been a journey of meticulous planning and respect for the building’s historical significance.

“Though the public benefits are clear, gaining planning permission was a challenge due to the intricate nature of the building’s history and its importance to the local community.

“The process was long and very involved, reflecting our dedication to preserving the essence of the city’s architectural heritage while providing modern functionality.

“Our approach was to blend the old with the new, ensuring that the building continues to tell its story while serving the contemporary needs of the city.”

There is now an opportunity for investors to take on the next stage of the project after the property recently went on the market with local agents.

John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said: “We are delighted to see that Derby City Council has granted planning permission and look forward to witnessing the next chapter for this wonderful building, which plays an important role, both in Derby’s heritage and in its future.”

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