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In March 2008, Heritage Works Buildings Preservation Trust was commissioned by British Waterways to undertake a feasibility study for the vacant Transhipment Warehouse and associated land at Whaley Bridge Canal Basin in the High Peak of Derbyshire. The Trust brought together a team of experienced sub-consultants for the study, led by Allen Tod Architecture.

The purpose of the study was to explore options for the economic re-use of the Transhipment Warehouse, and to demonstrate how the building could contribute to wider regeneration and community aspirations.

The aim was to find the means to turn the redundant listed building, which is essentially unused and becoming a maintenance liability, into an asset that brings greatest benefit to the community and an appropriate long-term financial solution for British Waterways.

Architect's drawing of Option Y

A programme of consultation was structured to canvas views of local people at several stages through the development of options for the building. These views were reported back to the design team, which, in consultation with local stakeholders and the project steering group, developed a number of proposals, detailed in the Phase 1 report. After further discussions and costings these were eventually narrowed down to the four most viable options, detailed in the Phase 2 report published in October 2008. Of the final four proposals, the design team favours Y2 most, as it provides new accommodation to increase the 'critical mass' of people using the canal basin area, makes least intervention into the historic building and creates a defined new external public space between the new and old buildings.

The East Midlands Development Agency (emda) provided a grant to enable British Waterways to commission this feasibility study. The Executive Summary of the final report can be downloaded from the Links & Resources page of this website. A copy of the full report is to be made available to view at the offices of Whaley Bridge Town Council, in the Mechanics Institute.

British Waterways has accepted the recommendations of the feasibility report and officers are now pursuing the recommended 'next steps', including making initial approaches to funding bodies in order to raise grant funding of over £1.6m to bridge the project deficit. The findings of the report are being examined further by consultants developing a master plan and implementation strategy for the canal basin and Bingswood industrial estate area, with a view to including the scheme in the wider regeneration plan for Whaley Bridge, to be submitted for emda funding.

Website: www.heritageworks.co.uk; email: admin@heritageworks.co.uk; Heritage Works BPT Ltd, Registered Charity No. 1052163, Company No. 3139324, VAT No. 677 3454 01, Registered in England