Manston Investments Ltd has submitted a Listed Building Application to Derby City Council, aimed at bringing the former Bennetts department Store building back to life.
Still remembered locally as “Bennetts” (which occupied the site since the 19th century), the property on 8-9 Irongate in the Cathedral Quarter of the City, has been empty since Bennetts went into administration in mid 2019, and then covid hit.
Manston has been working with local architects JSA Design, local cost consultants Armsons Barlow, and Nottingham based conservation architects Urban Fabric, to work up a scheme which will re-purpose the 29,000 sq ft part Listed building – previously occupied by a single user – to provide a range of different uses targeted more towards what is required in today’s City Centre.
Tom Boardman-Weston of Manston Investments commented “the scheme to bring this property back to life, has not been without its difficulties, both in respect of the structure itself, the Listed status of parts of the building and also the problems of deferring site meetings during covid lockdowns: and we still have a long way to go, but we are heartened by the very positive feedback we have been getting to our proposals”
The submitted proposals involve the partial demolition of some of the rear – more modern – parts of the building to create a whole new entrance to the upper floors and a servicing area for two smaller retail / leisure / food & beverage uses fronting Irongate. The remaining unit at the rear and the first floor will be converted to high end office accommodation. The plans also show the top floors being converted to provide 8 residential units.
Mr. Boardman-Weston commented further, “having originally bought the property as an investment in better times, we have “skin in the game” to work towards improving this part of the City with our scheme, and thereby hopefully encouraging the re-use of other buildings in the Cathedral Quarter. We are keen to play our part in the resurgence of Derby City Centre, and projects such as Becketwell, the refurbished Market Hall, Derbion’s proposals for the Eagle Centre and Bradshaw Way Retail Park, and the redevelopment of The Assembly Rooms are all helping to move the City Centre in the right direction.”