The Birmingham-based practice revealed its design for the historic Friar Gate Goods Yard in a full planning application and listed building application submitted to Derby City Council following public consultations.
Glancy Nicholls plans to ‘reanimate’ the site’s two listed buildings with up to 10,300m² of flexible office space, and create 276 new homes, including 227 two and three-bedroom townhouses and 49 apartments, on the 5ha site.
The proposals also include health and fitness space, a café, outdoor play areas and ‘pocket parks’, as well as a regional sales centre for Wavensmere Homes, which is developing the site alongside Pegasus Group and landowner Clowes Developments.
The developers said the retrofit project would involve a ‘painstaking restoration’ of the extensively fire-damaged former GNR 19th-century bonded warehouse and engine house, while some of the site’s original railway arch facades next to Friar Gate Bridge, would be retained for a new multipurpose community space.
Friar Gate Goods Yard, which sits just outside Derby’s Friar Gate Conservation Area, has been owned by the Clowes family for more than 40 years. The yard was intended as GNR’s main goods depot, to handle coal, livestock, timber, and metals.
Designed in 1870, and opened in 1878, the bonded warehouse building contained extensive warehouse space and offices. During the Second World War, it was used by the American army as an ammunition and supplies store.
The site’s Engine House was also built for the railway, by Kirk & Randall of Sleaford. The Italianate-style building, built from Welsh slate roofs, supplied power to the hydraulic lifts and capstans at the bonded warehouse.
The site has been derelict since 1967, after which it became overgrown and fell into heavy disrepair. A 2020 arson attack at the Goods Yard left the entire inner iron structure of the two historic buildings exposed.
Clowes Developments says it has previously explored a number of redevelopment options for the site, which were not progressed ‘due to heritage constraints and commercial viability’.
Glancy Nicholls director Adam McPartland said the firm’s redevelopment plans ‘illustrate the millions of pounds that need to be invested into saving these distressed 150-year-old listed buildings’, which he described as ‘two of Derby city centre’s most notable historic structures’.
He added: ‘By having a mix of commercial uses within the two buildings – and opening the inaccessible site up to create a series of new linear parks – it could enable hundreds of people to appreciate these heritage assets on a daily basis.
‘In addition to the proposals for the listed buildings, the designs for the 227 two and three-bedroom townhouses are bespoke. Curved and terraced street scenes celebrate the beauty and vista of the Bonded Warehouse while incorporating a range of energy-saving technologies and strategies.
‘We have also proposed a four-storey apartment building containing 49 apartments to reinstate the lost streetscape of the Stafford Street frontage.’
Wavensmere Homes managing director James Dickens called the proposal ‘the most comprehensive planning application we have ever submitted’.
He said: ‘We have fully 3D modelled the entirety of the 19th-century Bonded Warehouse and Engine House, which has enabled us to present how the buildings could be carefully brought back to life … we also have a database of over 500 prospective purchasers wishing to buy one of the townhouses, indicating the pent-up demand and appeal.’