Arts centre plans for former chocolate factory
DERBY'S Quad arts centre has put forward plans to transform a disused chocolate factory into an arts centre.
The former Derwent Lynton factory in Siddals Road will be used by artists if permission is granted by the city council.
The first use of the building would be as a venue for the Format Photography Festival in March, a popular event that was missing from Quad's schedule last year.
Quad chief executive Keith Jeffrey said: "I'm really excited at the potential opportunities the chocolate factory offers to us.
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"It's a really interesting prospect. We could do some very exciting things there.
"I was involved in setting up an art gallery called the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle that was also based in an old factory.
"The first event there will be the photography festival in March and we're still working on further plans and ideas for the building.
"It'll be a great space for artists and creatives to experiment."
Mr Jeffrey said the 20,000 sq ft building, currently owned by Compendium Living, would offer Quad a huge and exciting space with which to work.
He said: "It's not an absolutely pristine building but it's functional and there's no leaks in the roof.
"With a lick of paint, it could be something quite special."
Derwent Lynton, the confectionery company that used the building, was sold to Zetar PLC in November.
The company, that was established in the 1960s in Derby, became part of the Horsley Hick and Flower confectionery company, which is based in York.
In its heyday it employed 100 people in the city and specialised in the manufacture of milk chocolate eggs and hollow balls.
The site in Siddals Road has remained empty since the company was sold in 2010.
Neighbours of the former factory have been consulted on Quad's change-of-use plans for the building, which include opening until midnight on Saturdays for "one-off events".
On most days, the arts venue would be open from 9am until 7pm, Monday to Friday.
Mr Jeffrey said he hoped the consultation process on the change of use should be "quite straightforward".