Historic agreement paves way for Crescent development

Submitted: 2nd April 2012

HISTORY was made on Monday, April 2 with the signing and exchange of a landmark agreement for a nationally-important project to deliver the UK’s first genuine spa hotel in more than a century.

The signing of a development agreement by landowners High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council with the Buxton Crescent Hotel and Thermal Spa Company is a major step forward towards the transformation of the iconic Grade 1 listed Crescent and adjoining Grade 2 listed Natural Baths and Pump Room in the famous Peak District town.

The agreement will allow preliminary work to start this spring on an exciting £35m scheme that aims to deliver:

  • A 79-bedroom, 5-star spa hotel incorporating the neighbouring Natural Baths
  • A brand new visitor interpretation centre
  • A state-of-the-art thermal, natural mineral water spa
  • Eight specialist shops

The construction work is to be carried out in two main phases with the first phase expected to begin in June. This phase will include repairs that will enable the Pump Room to act as an information centre for the remainder of the project before being converted into a high-quality café allowing visitors to “take the waters” for the first time since the mid 1970s.

Funding for the project has come from:

  • The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) - £12.5m
  • English Heritage - £500,000 towards the repair of The Crescent and Pump Room
  • High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council - £1m each
  • Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Company - £15m

Following the loss of East Midland Development Agency funding, it is possible the public sector partners will need to look at plugging a potential funding gap once final constructions costs are known.

Borough council leader Caitlin Bisknell described the signing of the development agreement as “marvellous news” that would bring closer to reality “a nationally-important development that will strengthen the growing reputation of our lovely spa town as a major visitor destination.

“Tourism is vitally important to the High Peak, and this development will create jobs and attract countless new visitors while protecting Buxton’s precious architectural heritage”, she foresaw.

Derbyshire County Council leader Andrew Lewer said it was great news that years of planning and hard work by the two councils and the development consortium were coming to fruition.

“This is an important move which will deliver huge benefits for the Buxton and Derbyshire economies. As well as creating jobs and a much-needed boost for local business, it will further enhance Derbyshire’s status as a top tourist location”.

In a joint statement, Trevor Osborne and John Smith, of development partners the Trevor Osborne Property Group and CP Holdings respectively, said: “It has taken years of hard work to reach this memorable day.  We now look forward to the challenges of delivering this fantastic development.

“Working together, we will do our utmost to repay the enthusiasm shown by Buxton folk and the trust they place in us to do it right for Buxton”, they pledged.

Emma Sayer, head of HLF East Midlands, said: “The development and restoration of The Crescent has the potential to bring significant benefits to Buxton, and we at the Heritage Lottery Fund are very pleased that work will finally begin this spring.

“The heritage-led regeneration of The Crescent and Spa will provide the perfect complement to the refurbishments of the Opera House, Pavilion Gardens and Devonshire Dome, which we have also supported”, she added.

Anthony Streeten, English Heritage planning director for the East Midlands, described the development as an “enlightened project” that would breathe new life into Buxton’s long history as a spa town. And he added that, once work had finished, English Heritage would be able to remove The Crescent from its Buildings at Risk Register.

Last updated: 23rd January 2013

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