Jobs hope as demolition of Bath Street Mill moves step closer
MORE than 30 jobs will be created if planners grant permission for an historic Derby mill building to be demolished and replaced with retirement homes, the developer has said.
Radleigh Homes wants to knock down the 19th-century Bath Street Mill, which was badly damaged by a fire in July 2009, and replace it with 82 "extra-care" apartments.
The flats are designed to allow for independent living but care staff would be on hand 24 hours a day.
City council planning officers have now recommended the £9 million plans are given the go-ahead by its planning committee next Thursday.
Chris Neve, Radleigh Group's joint managing director, said work would begin at the end of this month if approval was granted.
He said 30 construction jobs would be created and that, when finally open, "there will be a number of full-time and part-time roles in managing the extra-care facility".
The first people would be able to move into the apartments, which would be in the form of three-storey masonry villas, in April 2015.
The project has been criticised by The Victorian Society, which works to preserve Victorian and Edwardian buildings.
It believes it would "harm the character" of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, where it is located.
Its letter to the city council says: "What survives the 2009 fire continues to make a very positive contribution to the conservation area in which it sits."
But a report drawn up by council officers for the planning committee says that, since the fire – the cause of which was never established – the building has "become unstable and deteriorated, with some parts having since collapsed".
In response to the society's concerns, Mr Neve said: "It is unfortunate that the building has incurred such serious fire damage as this now renders the building completely unsafe and unable to be restored."
He said the scheme would bring the area next to the River Derwent and Darley Park "back to life".
Mr Neve said: "It will give an opportunity to live within an extra-care facility close to the town centre, with views over the river, adjacent to a beautiful park and located within a residential area, so those occupying the apartments will feel part of the local community."
He said the £9 million for the scheme would come from the city council, central Government and extra-care provider Housing 21 – the organisation which will also run the homes if planning permission is granted.