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Wavensmere Homes receives the green light for new scheme

Wavensmere Homes has received the green light for its plans to redevelop Milford Mills, located between Belper and Duffield in north Derbyshire.
Milford Mills development site lr

69 new homes will now be delivered on the historic site, which is within the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Accessed off Derby Road (A6) in the centre of Milford village, the redevelopment of former commercial premises will feature 42 two- and three-bedroom houses and 27 one- and two-bedroom apartments, within a four-storey building overlooking the River and Mill Lade.

Wavensmere Homes has already spent over £250,000 on archaeological investigations on site throughout 2023, while amending the original planning application to enable the 4.7-acre development to be gas free and fully compliant with new building regulations. The houses will be installed with air source heat pumps, while the apartments will have electric heating, with solar PV panels fitted to the roof of the building to generate renewable energy.

Dating back to 1780, Milford Mills is a former cotton mill which housed some of the world’s first mechanised industrial spinning factories. The highly unique project will see the retention and restoration of numerous historic features from the former cotton mill, including the Mill Lade that now feeds a hydroelectric power plant downstream, the wheel pit and tail race that historically connected the mill to the River Derwent, along with the repair of all original stone boundary walls.

The site will be further complemented by two acres of public open space and the recent restoration of the Grade II listed Dye House by Chevin Homes to form a 4,500 sq ft commercial premises.

James Dickens, Managing Director of Wavensmere Homes, said: “Milford is one of the most sought-after villages in north Derbyshire, with the area’s historical importance reflected in the UNESCO World Heritage status. We are pleased to have received the go-ahead to amend the extant plans and move forward with this important £22m redevelopment project to provide much-needed quality new homes. During the planning process, we have already been approached by over 600 local people keen to secure a house or apartment here, with 21 having first refusal of their choice of plot.

“Milford Mills will have a clear focus on sustainability and renewable energy, while delivering natural stone facades that reflects the traditional architecture of this village and the nearby market town of Belper. Our team will now progress with pre-construction preparations and we look forward to being able to start construction for the 69 riverside houses and apartments in the coming months.”

Milford village offers local amenities including the Elephant and Peacock bar and restaurant, Strutt Arms hotel, schooling, and an array of scenic countryside walks. The neighbouring village of Duffield is a mile away, while the market town of Belper is under two miles away. There are train stations at both Duffield and Belper offering frequent services across the region and beyond. Derby city centre is 6.5 miles away via the A6, which is the main road into Milford.

The UNESCO world heritage site was inscribed in 2001 in recognition of the importance of the Derwent Valley’s water-powered industries to the Industrial Revolution and the universal significance of the River Derwent textile mills. The UNESCO zone runs from Derby in the south to Matlock in the north. Milford Mills straddles the centralising spine of the River Derwent, critical to the area’s growth and current character, as it bends northwards to the main vehicular route of Derby Road.

Wavensmere Homes has become one of Derby’s most prominent residential developers, with the £175mn multi-award-winning Nightingale Quarter becoming one of the finest regeneration and restoration assets in the region. The former Derby Royal Infirmary on London Road – which had laid derelict for a decade – has been transformed into a vibrant new community, including over 900 houses and apartments.

During summer 2023, the company submitted plans for the 11.5-acre (4.96Ha) historic Friar Gate Goods Yard in central Derby, which could be transformed into 276 houses and apartments, and over 110,000sq ft of commercial space. In October 2023, a full planning application was also submitted for the redevelopment of one of the final plots of vacant land within Derby’s newly revitalised Cathedral Quarter. 186 one- and two-bedroom apartments are proposed for ‘Cathedral One’ within a u-shaped finely detailed red brick building that rises to nine storeys.

Wavensmere Homes is currently constructing other major urban regeneration schemes, located in central Birmingham and Ipswich, and has further projects across middle England in the immediate pipeline. The Edgbaston-headquartered housebuilder has around 3,500 new homes either under construction or in planning.

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