New deal could finally restore Derby's biggest eyesore - Friar Gate Goods Yard

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

Derby's biggest eyesore, Friar Gate Goods Yard's bonded warehouse, looks close to being restored to its former glory.

It's stood derelict for 50 years at a key entry point to Derby city centre and recent drone footage showed it was missing most of its roof.

But now property developer Clowes, which owns the whole goods yard site, has said there's hope it will be restored - and, depending on planning permission, restoration work could start within 12 months.

The Grade-II listed warehouse was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1878 and formed part of the infrastructure around Friar Gate station. Services stopped operating from the station in 1963 and from the goods yard in 1968.

Planning permission was granted to Clowes in October 2011 for 140 homes, offices, cafes and shops, while turning the warehouse on the site into a supermarket.

The Friar Gate Goods Yard

The Friar Gate Goods Yard

But, in June 2015, the firm revealed that a downturn in financial fortunes for Britain’s supermarkets had prevented progress.

Clowes, which has owned the site for more than 30 years, also faces costs due to the need to retain the protected historic buildings on the site which make developing the area tricky.

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But now Andrew Bock, who manages the site for Clowes, says the firm was working on a deal to sell about half the 20-acre site.

He wouldn't reveal who the sale could be to for commercial reasons but said that the deal would mean the restoration of the bonded warehouse.

When asked whether the bonded warehouse was included on the half of the site in question, Mr Bock would not say.

A drone took this image of Friar Gate Goods Yard in Derby

A drone took this image of Friar Gate Goods Yard in Derby

But, even if it wasn't, that cash to help Clowes revamp the warehouse could form part of the deal - especially if it was to involve a major housing development.

Mr Bock said: "As a company, we are keen to do something to bring the site into use. It's the number one priority, out of everything I'm doing, to make sure this deal happens."

It is not clear what the deal would mean for the historic railway arches also on the site.