New management seeks planning permission to expand historic Belper pub

Are craft beers just a craze?
Are craft beers just a craze?

The new managers of a historic Belper pub are seeking planning permission to extend the building and create more space for dining customers.

The Secret Dining Company has submitted an application to Amber Valley Borough Council detailing its ambitions for The Devonshire, formerly known as The Duke of Devonshire, on Bridge Street.

The company reopened the pub last month after completing refurbishment works inside the building, which had been closed for 18 months previously.

The plans call for a new extension to the rear of the premises, adding 40 square metres of space and around 24 dining covers to add to the 60 it already offers.

In the planning documents, company representative Philip Heath said: “The proposal leaves the historic building virtually unaltered and involves the replacement of existing external shelters at the back with a more permanent and larger structure.”

The pub is thought to have been first built as a farmhouse around 300 years ago, while the outbuildings are estimated to date from the 19th century.

It is now Grade II-listed so there are significant heritage restrictions on any alterations, even before its position in the Derwent Valley Mills site is taken into account.

Mr Heath said: “Overall we suggest that this is an acceptable addition that has very little impact on the conservation area, the World Heritage site, or the key significances of the listed building.

“The new work adjoins secondary phases of the building and has no physical impact on the primary phase of the building which is the main reason for the listing.”

He added: “Instead of traditional gabled roofs, it has been thought best in this instance to retain a ‘lightweight’ and simple structure that still allows the evolution of the building to be easily read, without being ‘blurred’.

“The proposed structure sits mostly within existing external walls, and the visual impact will not be much greater than the structures that are there already.”

Among other considerations, council planning officers and councillors will be asked to decide whether the plans constitute a degree of harm to the pub’s setting sufficient to block the proposals.

Philip said: “We do not consider the proposal harmful. If, however, the local authority considers that there is ‘less than substantial harm’, then we would suggest that the additional dining area keeps the pub viable by enhancing its offer.”

For more details and architectural drawings, search for applications AVA/2018/0672 and AVA/2018/0673 at www.ambervalley.gov.uk.