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Reviving the Past, Building the Future at Friar Gate Goods Yard

Reviving the Past, Building the Future at Friar Gate Goods Yard

Working in collaboration with Wavensmere Homes and Clowes Developments, GNA have submitted a full planning and listed building application to Derby City Council for the redevelopment of the city’s historic Friar Gate Goods Yard. The detailed design proposal sets out the vision for the reanimation of two landmark Grade II listed buildings into over 110,000 sq ft of commercial space, with 276 new homes also planned for the 11.5-acre (4.96Ha) site.

A painstaking restoration of the 19th Century Bonded Warehouse and Engine House could deliver a total of 111,275 sq ft of flexible offices, health and fitness space, a restaurant/café, together with a regional sales centre for Birmingham-headquartered Wavensmere Homes. The plans also include extensive new areas of Public Open Space, including play spaces and pocket parks. A new multi-purpose public realm and community space is also proposed for the elevated area adjacent to Friar Gate Bridge, with retention of some of the original railway arch facades.

Friar Gate Goods Yard has been in the ownership of the Clowes family for over 40 years, with a number of options for redevelopment proposed but not progressed, due to heritage constraints and commercial viability. Wavensmere Homes and Clowes developments have worked with Glancy Nicholls Architects and Pegasus Group to incorporate the views from over 200 local public consultation responses into the plans for the redevelopment of the derelict site.

This is the most comprehensive planning application we have ever submitted. 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. The context of the new homes and several acres of new Public Open Space are also fully illustrated. The opportunity to work collaboratively to reanimate this landmark city centre site is an honour and the plans showcase our vision, fine attention to detail, and bold investment into this nationally important regeneration project.

James Dickens Managing Director of Wavensmere Homes

The overarching brief from Wavensmere Homes was for a huge emphasis to be placed on exemplary placemaking. 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 to the context of this area of Derby. Curved and terraced street scenes celebrate the beauty and vista of the Bonded Warehouse, while incorporating a range of energy saving technologies and design strategies. The highest EPC rating of A is being targeted for the new homes and commercial spaces to ensure energy consumption and carbon emissions remain low.”

The Friar Gate Goods Yard redevelopment plans illustrate the millions of pounds that need to be invested into saving the two distressed 150-year-old listed buildings. GNA have brought our expertise in restoration and retrofit design to sustainably restore two of Derby City Centre's most notable historic structures, providing Derby a vibrant new chapter of their story.

Adam McPartland Director at Glancy Nicholls Architects

The site sits just outside the Friar Gate Conservation Area, which features notable Georgian townhouses with high-quality brickwork and fine architectural detailing. The Friar Gate Goods Yard was intended as the main goods depot for the Great Northern Railway line, to handle coal, livestock, timber, and metals. Designed in 1870, and entering operation in 1878, the Bonded Warehouse building contained extensive warehouse space and offices. It was used as a store for the American Army in WWII to house ammunition and other supplies.

The Engine House was also built for the Railway by Kirk & Randall of Sleaford. It is Italianate in style and built from Welsh slate roofs. The Engine House supplied power to the hydraulic lifts and capstans at the Bonded Warehouse. The site first became derelict in 1967, and overtime became overgrown and fell into a poor state of repair. An arson attack took place at the Goods Yard in 2020, which exposed the whole inner iron structure of the two historic buildings.

The Goods Yard redevelopment proposals promote sustainable development through the use of low carbon materials, modern methods of construction, and renewable energy generation. The redevelopment would see the retention of the majority of the protected mature trees, together with a range of biodiverse enhancements.

GNA have developed a range of house typologies that seek to cater for the Derby demographic, combining use of shared party walls and high-performance facades to deliver homes that have low energy consumption and are cost efficient to run. Residents’ amenity space has been a key design driver with all homeowners benefiting from private garden spaces, terraces and access to managed communal gardens. These act as the ‘green lungs’ of the site and through introduction of open play, allotments, sustainable drainage and biodiversity benefits create a positive place to live for the Friar Gate Goods Yard community.

Alongside visions for the Bonded Warehouse, Engine House and Regen housing, GNA have submitted plans for an apartment building located on Stafford Street adjacent. This building serves an important purpose repairing the streetscape along this key route into Derby City Centre.

GNA have designed an inclusive apartment building that combines contextual design, exceptional amenities, and a prime location to offer residents a sustainable urban lifestyle. Bold use of contemporary dormers activate the building’s façade and considered spatial planning maximises the influx of natural light into each apartment unit. This not only reduces energy consumption but also enhances the well-being of the residents.

GNA are proud to have led the design of this landmark scheme and look forward to playing our part alongside Wavensmere Homes in the preservation of two iconic Derbyshire structures and regenerating a problematic brownfield site into a new vibrant community, workplace and citywide amenity.

To view the plans for Friar Gate Goods Yard, please visit: