New swimming pool, soft-play area, restaurant, and homes planned for Derbyshire site

An artist's impression of the proposed development on the former Butterley Iron Works. Image from Whittam Cox Architects.
An artist's impression of the proposed development on the former Butterley Iron Works. Image from Whittam Cox Architects.

Plans to build 80 homes on the site of a former Derbyshire ironworks have been submitted.

London firm Aquarius Estates Ltd and local entrepreneur Tim Godkin are behind the plans for the former Butterley Iron Works in Amber Valley.

An artist's impression of the proposed development on the former Butterley Iron Works. Image from Whittam Cox Architects.

An artist's impression of the proposed development on the former Butterley Iron Works. Image from Whittam Cox Architects.

The developer aims to build 80 houses and “offices, eateries and leisure facilities” on the site, off Butterley Hill and Coach Road, just north of Ripley.

If approved, the new homes would sit close to the Derbyshire Fire and Police Headquarters – which sits on land which was the factory’s offices – and Butterley Reservoir.
Amber Valley Borough Council will decide on the plans in the next few months.

Meanwhile, several remaining buildings on the former factory site would be retained, refurbished and brought back into use under a future planning application.

The applicant hopes to gain approval for the “change of use” of the remaining buildings, on the north and north-west borders of the site, for the above uses before applying to make any conversions or refurbishments.

An artist's impression of the proposed development on the former Butterley Iron Works. Image from Whittam Cox Architects.

An artist's impression of the proposed development on the former Butterley Iron Works. Image from Whittam Cox Architects.

It is proposed that “building one” a large rectangular building which faces on to the junction of Butterley Hill and Coach Road, would become a shop on the ground floor and care home with office on the upper floor.

Its existing car park area would have 30 spaces.

“Building two,” a two-storey structure the size of a small house, to the west of building one, would become an office unit.

The next part of the proposed development, “building four” sits further to the west on Butterley Hill.

An aerial shot of the former Butterley Iron Works. Google Images.

An aerial shot of the former Butterley Iron Works. Google Images.

It comprises a small hexagonal building and a longer rectangular structure – both single-storey – which would become a micro-pub or restaurant or a wine bar.

Following this are the larger, red brick former factory buildings, the first in the row of three (buildings five through seven) connecting structures, would be demolished.

Meanwhile, the second would be a storage and distribution depot on the ground floor with offices above, and the third would be a dance studio on the ground floor and offices on the floors above.

The largest building, “building eight”, covering 1,569 sqm, could house a swimming pool, soft-play area, microbrewery or micropub.

Finally, “building nine”, could house a gym or “wellness centre”.

A large pond to the south-east of the site would also be retained as part of the plans.

The site has been closed since 2009 and has been left derelict.

Known locally as the Butterley Works, the site originally functioned as a mining operation and smelting site, before being restructured to form an engineering, brick-making and aggregates business.

It was founded in 1790, as Benjamin Outram and Company, followed by the Butterley Company and ran for 219 years.

At its peak, in the 1950s, the firm employed 10,000 people.

The former blast furnaces, and the disused Butterley Tunnel, part of the Cromford Canal route, lie to the east of the site. The canal itself passes underneath the site – 15 metres below the surface.

Iron ore on the site was discovered while the tunnel and canal route was being carved out.

A total of 145 houses were approved at appeal in 2006 to the east of the former factory site.

A report submitted with the application says: “This application proposes the creation of a high quality sustainable development that provides social, economic and environmental benefits to Ripley, its surroundings and the wider borough.

“The key issue in this regard is that the site, including its heritage assets, have been vacant for many years and are in a derelict state, primarily as a result of years of lack of investment, maintenance, and management largely due to the insolvency of previous owners.

“The site also presents a serious health and safety risk in its current form and gives rise to anti-social behaviour with vandalism and arson frequent occurrences despite security measures put in place by the current owners.

“The site clearly isn’t a viable employment proposition as evidenced by the length of time it has been vacant and therefore alternative proposals should be considered.

“It is proposed that the development will provide up to 80 dwellings to assist in meeting the borough’s identified need for new additional housing, delivering a choice and range of homes that will cater for sustainable and modern styles of living through an indicative mix of two, three and four bedroom dwellings.

“It is envisaged that the scale of development would generally be two storeys, with scope for taller dwellings (2.5 storeys) in key locations.

“For clarity, there are no proposals to alter the blast wall, furnace and small area immediately adjacent to it, or for development proposals to affect the canal tunnel beneath the site.

“The development will fund works of maintenance and repair to the blast wall and its future management and maintenance will be secured through Section 106 obligations (legal agreements between the developer and the council to mitigate negative impacts of the development).”