Hub for industry bid at old factory

Belper could once again become a thriving hub for industry, after the town’s MP this week began her own drive to rejuvenate the arson-hit Thornton’s site.

Pauline Latham is urging organisations who could help her vision of creating start-up units for small and new businesses to get in touch with her.

The project would be similar to the £8m scheme to transform the Jackson’s Mill site in Derby into an enterprise hub, encouraging investment and creating local jobs, the Tory MP told the News.

The Thorntons site, where an explosion and fire just over two weeks ago created national headlines, became available for development last month after Tesco confirmed ithad backed away from a plan to build a megastore there, where it owns land.

Mrs Latham said: “What is really important now is that we all work together to ensure the site is used for something purposeful now that Tesco’s won’t be using the land.

“Here in Derby we have established ourselves as one of the capitals of the world for the innovative engineering and technology industry. Therefore, I think it would be appropriate if the site is to be used as an ‘enterprise hub’. This could be for new start up units for small businesses who wish to start new engineering or similar businesses to help them get their business ‘kick started’ for the first few years.”

She continued: “I will shortly be writing to Amber Valley and Derbyshire county councils about the future of the site, so if this is something you or a local organisation would like to be involved with, please get in touch with me.”

Clearance and demolition work at the empty factory, which was torched by arsonists, was continuing. Contractors working for Tesco were using water cannons to wet the roof, which contained asbestos,which caused a health scare during the fire.

The roof is being cut into sections and put into skips. The News has called for readers to get in touch with their views on what the site could be used.

forand Safety Executive guidelines.

See Mrs Latham’s column - page 13.