A new heritage attraction

‘Old Spaces, Creative Futures’ – a visitor attraction for the future

Imagine you were given some money and were asked to decide what sort of visitor attraction you would like to see on the Belper Mills site. What sort of attraction would make you want to bring your friends and family to visit it? And what would it need to have, to be worthy of its place within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site for the next decade and beyond? How would you ensure that we have something to offer our visitors that is exciting and vibrant?

This is the challenge we have been set. 

The Belper North Mill Trust is delighted to have been offered funding through the Great Place Scheme to try to answer these questions – to commission consultancy work to look at how an enhanced visitor attraction worthy of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site can be developed within the proposed regeneration of the Belper Mills site and how this can attract sufficient visitor numbers and increased income to be viable, sustainable and of benefit to the town and the wider region.

The work will:

  • recognise the history of the Belper Mills site and its unique contribution to and within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site;
  • identify the optimum size and location of the visitor attraction including any required building modifications;
  • identify the operational and economic implications for the proposed scheme;
  • put forward a phased implementation plan.

As the enhanced visitor attraction will be a feature of the intended redevelopment of the Belper Mills complex, the study will involve working with FI Real Estate Management Ltd, who have agreed to participate in the study, as well as with the DVMWHS Coordinating Team and other interested parties.

A brief has been developed for the work and more information about how to be involved will be available after consultants have been appointed.

Derbyshire County Council, on behalf of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Partnership, has been awarded funding as one of sixteen Great Place Schemes in England, a pilot scheme which is a partnership between the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and is supported by Historic England.

Old Spaces, Creative Futures’ is a project in the Scheme that aims to facilitate a co-ordinated approach to the regeneration of the Belper Mills complex including the North and East Mills, to develop new ideas for these significant historical buildings to benefit businesses and residents and to secure the economic future of the buildings.