Plans to redevelop historic Bennetts building revealed

How the scheme could look / Manston Investments

Ashby-based property investment company Manston Investments has unveiled plans to repurpose the former Bennetts department store building in Derby in a bid to bring the historic site back to life.

The 29,000 sq ft property at 8-9 Irongate has been vacant since Bennetts collapsed into administration in mid-2019. The company had occupied the Cathedral Quarter site since the 19th century.

In conjunction with architects JSA Design, cost consultants Armsons Barlow and conservation architects Urban Fabric, Manston has tabled proposals to redevelop the listed building to provide “a range of different uses targeted more towards what is required in today’s city centre.”

Under the plans, parts of the rear of the building would be demolished to create a new entrance to the upper floors and a service area for “two smaller retail/leisure/food & beverage uses” fronting Irongate.

The remaining unit at the rear of the building and the first floor would be redeveloped into “high end” office accommodation.

Eight residential units are planned for the top floor.

Tom Boardman-Weston, managing director of Manston Investments, said: “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.”

Boardman-Weston added: “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.