Work has started on knocking down parts of a former Thorntons factory in Belper to make way for a £16 million development, which will include a care home, library and other facilities.
Contractor City Demolition has begun pulling down the buildings in Derwent Street, Belper.
The work comes after Amber Valley Borough Council received permission in April from Derbyshire County Council to demolish a large part of the former factory and build a 40-room care home, as well as public library and cafe/restaurant which will serve both residents and the wider community.
Although much of the factory will be demolished, its frontage is being retained as a nod to the building’s industrial past.
The factory is steeped in industrial history. It was part of the Industrial Revolution during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was once the Castle Blouse factory, owned by the Nottingham Manufacturing Company, making blouses and hosiery.
It later became a storage facility for Rolls-Royce engines during the Second World War and, in 1947, was taken over by Thorntons until the chocolate maker moved all of its operations to Somercotes in 2004.
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The factory then became derelict and, in 2013, was hit by a devastating fire, which was caused by a gas explosion.
According to the county council, the new care home on the site will replace the Ada Belfield House Care Home, in Field Lane, Belper, which the authority says is no longer fit for purpose.
The county council said that the library element of the project would be housed in the site’s most historic building – the former Castle Blouse factory dating back to the 1800s.
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The authority said: “We know this site is important to the town and that’s why we’ll be keeping the Derwent Street facade of the former Thornton’s factory as well as retaining and refurbishing the former Castle Blouse factory.”
A new public square with pedestrian access from Bridge Street will also be created to improve links with the town.
After demolition work is finished, building work on the project will start. The scheme is due to be completed by the summer of 2019.
Source: Derby Telegraph