Green light for £6m mixed-use scheme

How The Promenade will look

A major mixed-use scheme which could create 43 jobs and contribute nearly £12m to the South Derbyshire economy over the next decade has been given the go-ahead.

Mercia Marina owner John Thornton has praised District Council planning chiefs for recognising the long-term economic benefits of the development after plans to create 14 apartments and seven retail units at the popular tourist site were green lit earlier this week.

Established in 2008, the marina has grown from a former fishing lake in a gravel pit to become one of the leading leisure and tourism businesses in the East Midlands, attracting around 800,000 visitors annually and directly supporting around 300 jobs.

The new mixed-use scheme will be known as The Promenade. It will replace three existing buildings at the site near Willington, one of which was originally a timber fishing hut prior to the marina opening 15 years ago and is now a tea room that will relocate to the new building.

Construction work on the project is expected to begin in around 12 months’ time and take 18 months to complete.

The £6m building has been designed by Repton-based architects Bi Design.

Thornton – the former CEO of Derbyshire-based chocolate manufacturer Thorntons – said: “We are delighted this iconic new building has received planning approval from South Derbyshire District Council (SDDC).

“We very much hope and believe that the Promenade, which is in keeping with the style of the existing Piazza and Boardwalk buildings, will, when built, become a heritage asset complementing the Canal Conservation Area.

“It has been a slow and difficult process. But it is thanks to the foresight, support and leadership of South Derbyshire District Council, which realises that the region’s economic, employment and cultural welfare depend upon the encouragement of private investment, that the project has been approved.

“When the economy strengthens, inflation recedes and confidence returns, we look forward to bringing the project to fruition.”

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