The canalside building that most people in Whaley Bridge have never seen inside is to be opened during the Whaley Water Weekend (W3) on Saturday and Sunday (7 and 8 June). The west side section of the building – nearest the main road – will be accessible from 10am-5pm both days.
The transhipment warehouse, a Grade 2* listed building, dates back to the early 19th century. It was originally used for loading quarry material, either on to boats or railway wagons for export from the canal basin to other parts of the north west or to Cromford via the historic Cromford and High Peak railway.
A decade ago, major plans were developed to use the building for community purposes. A £50,000 feasibility study took place, but nothing came of the plans as public funding dried up.
At the last public opening in 2008, the then MP Tom Levitt was a visitor . At the time many local politicians supported the planned development. Plans have been on ice ever since.
Now the Canal and Rivers Trust (CRT), successors to British Waterways, in cooperation with a small group of local interested members of the community are seeking to get the views of the public as to how this wonderful, but challenging, building can be used in the future. Urban Design, the in-house architects of CRT have come up with some illustrative design concepts which have just this week been discussed with English Heritage.
The objective of the display being mounted this weekend is to establish whether there is enough interest from local user groups to put together a new community development trust to take on the building. Although heritage funding may be available to restore the building, the key sticking point has always been to cover running costs.
Please drop in, have a look round, see the displays, have a chat, share your ideas and get involved!