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We are currently working to redevelop the site of the Aida Bliss factory on City Road for affordable homes. This is a great opportunity to bring a derelict site back into use. We will be investing in high quality design that respects the character of the Little Chester Conservation Area and the prominent position by the River Derwent. The aim is to retain the Victorian façade and incorporate it into the new homes.
We will be working on surveys, designs and plans throughout 2020, with the aim to secure planning permission early in 2021, and construction then running throughout 2021 and 2022.
We have worked already with the Darley Neighbourhood Board’s planning sub-group, as well as through the Little Chester Residents Association and consultation meetings for Our City Our River. We would welcome further discussions with residents or anyone with an interest in the site, to make sure we provide new homes that Derby can really be proud of.
We are currently procuring a professional project team to lead the development. This will include project management, architect, structural engineer and more. We expect to appoint this team in March 2020.
We plan to start building on site in early-mid 2021, though it's possible we may start some demolition and groundworks in 2020. This may seem a long time away, but it is important we invest the time to get the design right.
Not completely. We plan to retain the current brick facade that faces onto City Road and incorporate it with the new homes. Although it is not listed, it contributes to the character of the Little Chester Conservation Area and is part of Derby's industrial heritage. However, this will be subject to structural surveys.
The site is protected by the new flood walls constructed as part of Our City Our River. However, it is still classed as being in a flood zone. We need to design the buildings so residents would be kept safe in the very unlikely event of the defences failing, or a flood overtopping them. We will be working closely with the Environment Agency on this.
We have a specific policy as part of our Local Plan to regenerate sites by the River Derwent, including for new homes, and this approach has been taken successfully with other sites in Derby.
The expectation is that when the site is redeveloped, the wall will be clad with materials in keeping with the new homes. In the event the new development does not take place by 2023, there is a planning condition that means the Council would have to return and clad the wall at that stage.
The new flood defence is now fully watertight - the cladding will simply be to improve the appearance.
Like many sites that have previously been used for industry, there is some contamination of the ground that we will need to deal with. There are tried and tested methods to do this, which may involve digging out some of the ground and bringing in clean soil to make it ready to build new homes. There is a robust process to make sure there will be no risk to people living in the new homes.
Council housing is financed separately from other council services. All the rents from council homes and all the money spent on them pass through our Housing Revenue Account, which we are required by law to keep separate from our General Fund.
We can borrow money against the future rents from the new homes (like getting a mortgage to build a new house). We can also use funding from the sale of Council homes under the Right to Buy. We have to either use this Right to Buy funding on new homes, or pay it to the Government.
The cost of borrowing is very low, and council housing saves money for taxpayers in the long term, so this is a good time to invest in new homes.
The new homes will be allocated through Derby Homefinder and will be managed by Derby Homes. If you are in need of housing, you can apply to join this scheme. You cannot specifically request the new homes on this site.