120 jobs could be created at former Rolls-Royce factory

How the visitor centre could look if the plans are given the green light

Plans to turn a former Rolls-Royce factory in Debry into a classic car visitor attraction have been lodged by JSA Architects.

Acting on behalf of Great Northern Classics, JSA has submitted a planning application to turn the engineering giant’s former Light Alloy Foundry, in Osmaston Road, into the new venture, which would create around 120 jobs.

According to the planning application, the centre would boost the city’s tourism economy as a visitor attraction, while at the same time acting as a hub for apprenticeships.

In the plans, JSA Architects said: “Working in partnership with Derby City Council and Rolls-Royce, Great Northern Classics has identified this site as an opportunity to re-purpose an attractive heritage building and provide an environment that promotes, preserves and protects the heritage motor trade.

“The intention for the scheme is to provide a vehicle for the transference of knowledge, from skilled tradespeople to younger generations, that will continue the work Derby has long being associated with.”

The centre would rent out workshops to businesses involved in the heritage motor vehicle industry such as upholsterers, engine builders, body sharps, auto-electricians and other small manufacturers or fabricators.

As part of this, there would be training areas for apprentices, with people in education being able to gain skills at the businesses that are on the site.

The application states that Northern Classics would directly employ up to eight apprentices a year, in addition to third-party apprentices.

People who own classic cars would be able to store them on the site, where they would be visible to visitors in a “secure area”, with other installations providing attractions to visitors.

In the planning documents, JSA Architects said: “Great Northern Classics is a company that aims to preserve, protect and ensure the longevity of the classic vehicle skills industry.

“Its primary objective is to provide a vehicle for transference of skills from current tradespeople to the next generation of professionals and enthusiasts, whilst also supporting small enterprises in the classic vehicle industry.”

The Osmaston Road site is currently home to Rolls-Royce’s Heritage Centre, which is set to move to the engineering giant’s main civil aerospace campus, at Sinfin.

JSA Architects said that it had discussed its proposal to convert the former Rolls-Royce Heritage Centre with key members and officers of Derby City Council and received “overwhelming support” from a number of local stakeholders.