Young architects’ ideas for Tesco site

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Architecture students from a top London university have been letting their imaginations run wild on ideas for the land owned by Tesco in Belper.

It is hoped the work of the Kingston University study group will eventually feed-in to a masterplan for the Meadows Edge area, which would protect the design and layout of any developments.

Fourteen proposals for the area by the students will be presented to the public at the Belper Food Festival in July, However, around 50 visitors to Number 28 on Market Place were able to get a sneak preview of the students suggestions and talk through their ideas with them last weekend.

The students, led by their tutors, well-known architects, Pierre and Pereen D’Avoine - were given a guided tour of the centre of the town and the site, followed by presentations from the World Heritage Site’s Barry Joyce and Adrian Farmer, Transition Belper and Belper Civic Forum members in No 28.

Practical ideas which followed from the students included solutions for the road access, how to incorporate the water and the needs of small industrial units such as the the Drop Inn Youth Centre already located in the middle of the development area.

More radical concepts included using sponge-like material to allow building on the flood plain.

The land off Derwent Street had been earmarked for a Tesco megastore for years. However, the company has now confirmed it is no longer interested in the development and, as reported in the Belper News, is considering building a care home, industrial units and houses on the site

Dr John Morrissey, who visited the event at No 28 and is a member of the Belper Civic Forum, said: “Intense study and discussion culminated in four teams of students enthusiastically presenting in public their initial ideas for the regeneration of Belper’s under-utilised riverside area. This visit brought business to Belper and is confirmation of the increasing recognition that the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site has earned both for its historic interest and its picturesque situation.”