Historic Derby stables regeneration under starter's orders

Historic Derby stables regeneration under starter's orders

PLANS have been submitted to regenerate Darley Park's historic stables and bakehouse to create unique new work spaces for small and medium sized businesses in Derby.

Darley Abbey Stables Sanctuary LLP is seeking planning approval from Derby City Council to restore the derelict Grade II listed Darley Abbey Stables and adjacent Bakehouse, parts of which date back to the early 18th Century and form part of the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site.

The developer is proposing to create eight individual work spaces within the buildings, which surround a central courtyard at the northern edge of Darley Park behind the existing Darley Park Terrace Cafe.

The largest unit will be transformed to create a pilates and yoga studio over two floors with an associated treatment and physiotherapy room. There is already an interested party involved in negotiations with the developer for this unit, pending planning approval.

Expressions of interest for the other workspaces are currently being sought through Derby commercial property agent Innes England.

Central to the character of the new Darley Abbey Stables will be the retention of historic features including the horse stalls and associated fixtures and fittings, which represent particularly fine examples of equine architecture. Rare lime ash floors, lath and plaster ceilings and some roof timbers must also be preserved due to their historical interest.

Heating pipes and a boiler room serving a stable block that was subsequently converted into a garage will also remain. They were apparently installed to warm a Bentley car owned by the Evans family, who owned the former Darley Hall to which these outbuildings belonged. The hall, outbuildings and Darley Park have been under local authority ownership since 1931, though Darley Hall itself was demolished in 1962.

Dr Tanya Spilsbury, of Darley Abbey Stables Sanctuary, said: "We've been working closely with Derby City Council's regeneration, parks and planning departments for a long time in an effort to breathe some life back into these important historical assets. I'm passionate about finding new uses for historic buildings, so seeing this challenging project progress from plans to reality will be really heartening.

"It will be fabulous to see jobs being created and businesses thriving in a group of buildings that have been derelict for some time. They are currently in a very sorry state of repair. Despite that, they're still full of character and, once repaired, they will be really interesting buildings to run a business from. They will certainly be different from your average office bock or business unit, so we're hoping to attract businesses that like to stand out from the crowd."

She added: "When completed, it would be hard to imagine a more delightful and picturesque place to work in Derby. Not only is it on the edge of the beautiful Darley Park – it is also incredibly well located in terms of commuting."   

The new £850k Darley Abbey Stables development will be accessed through Darley Abbey village, which sits near to the junction of the A38 and A6, about two miles north of Derby city centre and close to public transport routes.

The architect on the project is Lichfield-based Brownhill Hayward Brown, and the developer has commissioned local Darley Abbey-based consultancy Armsons as quantity surveyor.

Mike Armson, of Armsons Project Managers and Cost Consultants, said:  "Having been based in Darley Abbey for over 35 years, we are very pleased to be involved in this exciting and worthwhile project. It is really gratifying and good for Darley Abbey and Derby to see these old and dilapidated former outbuildings sympathetically restored for new usage by a sensitive developer and their team. New and emerging businesses will be housed in these previously redundant facilities to the benefit of the local community in future years."

If planning approval is granted, the council will hand over the buildings to the developer on a long lease. A portion of the repair costs will be supported by the city's Regeneration Fund, which is also aiding the rejuvenation of the nearby Darley Abbey Mills site.   

Councillor Martin Repton, Derby City Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture and ward councillor for Darley, said: "The announcement of the regeneration of Darley Park's historic stables and bakehouse is an incredibly positive development. It will bring back into use these important historic buildings which lie at the heart of one of this city's most  well-loved and beautiful parks. It will also create economic development and much-needed employment in these challenging times as well as adding a colourful hub of activity adjacent to the newly refurbished café terrace area of the park."

Darley Abbey Stables will consist of around 600 square metres of office/studio space as well as toilet and kitchen areas. Parking will be available for a small number of cars within the internal courtyard area.

If planning permission is granted within the guideline eight-week period, regeneration work could start in the early summer, with an opening date in early 2014.

Tim Richardson, of commercial property agent Innes England, who will be marketing the business units on behalf of the developer, said: "We are delighted to be involved as part of the team bringing these redundant buildings back to life for the benefit of the city, community and occupiers.

"Once completed, the buildings will provide high quality, characterful space in a very pleasant environment and will appeal to a range of businesses looking for distinctive accommodation that sets them apart from the norm."

Anyone interested in finding out more about the forthcoming business work spaces should contact Tim Richardson, associate director at Innes England, on 01332 362244 or email


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