The Belper Mills site
The Strutt mills, once the heart of the cotton spinning town of Belper, are a key part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site but many of its Listed Buildings have been identified by Historic England as ‘At Risk’ due to a lack of maintenance and proper repair. The Belper North Mill Trust is a tenant in the North Mill and has been concerned for many years about the condition of these important buildings.
In 2017, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Trust produced ‘An Outline Masterplan for the future of the whole of the Belper Mills site’ authored by DCA Consultants and Purcell. This looked at how the site could be brought back into viable use. The masterplan can be downloaded below.
In May 2016 as our study was in progress Courtaulds’ two operations in Belper went into administration, leaving their site vacant. These two sites, on either side of Bridge Foot, together made up the Strutt mills – representing working life in Belper over three centuries and have the potential to add new information to the interpretation and history of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
The Trust believes that, in order to provide the very best opportunity for a sustainable business plan for the regeneration of this part of the town, a development plan should be developed covering both sites to ensure sensitive, long term, sustainable conservation and regeneration, to benefit tourism and the economic future of Belper and the wider area.
The current Planning Application
A Planning Application for the redevelopment of the Belper Mills complex was submitted to Amber Valley Borough Council by FI Real Estate Management Ltd in 2018 and is yet to be determined. The main element of the plan is the conversion of the East Mill into residential apartments. The Trust welcomes the prospect of the redevelopment of the Belper Mills Complex in a way that provides a sustainable future for the whole site, while respecting and interpreting its history and heritage. The Trust is actively working with FI Real Estate Management Ltd to ensure that it can continue to operate its museum ‘Strutt’s North Mill’ and the Derwent Valley Visitor Centre on the site while at the same time looking at how an enlarged, improved and distinctive heritage venue might be developed for the future.