First ever civic award goes to software firm

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Owners of a company which transformed a historic Belper building have been presented with the town’s first ever civic award.

Chevin Fleet Solutions, which took on the restoration of the old Brettles building in Chapel Street, was given the honour by Belper Civic Forum.

The group said they had been considering such an award for some time and when they learned of the project, they could “delay no longer”.

A spokesman for the forum said: “They were clearly worthy recipients of such a prize . Not only were local business-people Ashley and Tracey Sowerby prepared to tackle this dauntingly decrepit but important historic building, they have now completed the project in record time and to a high conservation standard.

“Ashley and Tracey have made the most of the wonderful spaces and surviving historic details, such as the main stairs, while accommodating the requirements of a modern hi-tech office for their growing business, Chevin Fleet Solutions.

“They say full credit goes to their builders, DH Harvey & Sons (Giltbrook) Ltd, with whom they worked closely to achieve the detail and finishes they wanted. The interior work was managed by Tracey, who is an interior designer.”

Originally an elegant Regency house, built on land purchased in the late 1820s by Henry Perkins, the building was developed as a boarding school over many years on land behind the property. By 1900 it was known as ‘The Grammar School’, closing only because of the death of the head master, George Wright, in 1913.

The Civic Forum gave evidence at the planning appeal at which the building was saved from demolition and campaigned for action to restore the huge building, which had become a blight on the neighbourhood.

The award will be presented at the Civic Forum’s AGM at 7.30pm on Wednesday April at 17 Strutts by World Heritage Site co-ordinator, Adrian Farmer. All are welcome to learn more about the spectacular rescue operation.