The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has today awarded further funding towards a major project to conserve Buxton’s iconic Grade I listed Georgian Crescent – one of the first purpose built hotels in the country.
HLF will provide £11.3million, in addition to the major grant already allocated, to secure the long-term future of the Crescent which was built by the fifth Duke of Devonshire as the centrepiece of this famous spa town.
The extra money is essential to unlock the major regeneration plans and follows various unforeseen cost increases and delays including legal difficulties and the loss of funding from other sources. It will pay for extensive repair and restoration works to stop the structural deterioration of the building so that a thermal spa and hotel can be created. This will bring the building back into use for the first time since 1992, attracting many more people to the town and in turn providing a huge boost to the local economy.
Councillor Caitlin Bisknell, Leader of the Borough Council, said: “This is exactly the news everyone has been hoping and waiting for. This is an extremely important moment for the town. I know many people have fond, personal memories of the former hotel and baths and are anxious to see the buildings restored. It’s been a long time coming but it really does now feel like all the hurdles have been cleared and I look forward to work starting in the New Year.”
The innovative plans, supported by HLF, also include an interactive visitor centre, tearoom and heritage experience in the Grade II listed Pump Room – open to the public free of charge – as well as enabling public access and interpretation of the Assembly Rooms.
This will complement the transformation of the historic Crescent which will include:
• A 79-bedroom, 5-star spa hotel incorporating the neighbouring natural baths
• A state-of-the-art thermal, natural mineral water spa
• Six specialist, boutique shops
Derbyshire County Council’s Leader Councillor Anne Western said: “This is great news for this wonderful building, Buxton and the surrounding area and we are very grateful for the support that the Heritage Lottery Fund has shown.
“Once we secure the final funding we can get on and bring new life to the Crescent. Once the works have been completed and the building is open for business this will mark a new beginning for Buxton. The economic benefits will be felt for many years to come and an iconic building will have been saved for future generations.”
Developer Trevor Osborne added: “The restoration of the Crescent is the cornerstone of the heritage-led regeneration currently helping to revitalise the High Peak so this is the best possible news we could have received. We’ve chosen our contractor, Vinci, who carried out the first phase and the enabling works so have a proven track record in this field. Subject to securing the final piece of the funding jigsaw we’re all set to go in the New Year – it’s an exciting time for the scheme and the whole town.”
Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “Buxton is a gem of the Peaks and the perfect example of how heritage can help to regenerate a whole town and give it a new sense of purpose. The Crescent is the final piece in the puzzle, rejuvenating a precious example of Georgian architecture and creating a base for people from all over the world to explore Derbyshire’s treasures.”
In 2013, HLF announced new research showing that heritage-based tourism is worth £26.4bn to the UK economy – £5.8bn higher than the previous estimate published in 2010.
Buxton’s iconic Crescent.
Notes to Editors
High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council have worked together on this project for many years. In 2003 they appointed project developers Trevor Osborne Property Group and CP Holdings to carry out the project.
The Buxton Crescent Hotel and Thermal Spa Company Limited is a joint venture. Trevor Osborne Property Group and CP Holdings are joint developers, and the operator of the spa hotel will be Danubius Hotels, Europe’s leading spa hotel operator.
Historical information: The Crescent was the centrepiece of the 5th Duke of Devonshire’s scheme to create a fashionable spa in the North of England. It was designed by John Carr of York and constructed 1780-89 to provide an assembly room, two hotels (some of the first purpose-built hotels in the country) and six lodging houses. One of the hotels closed in the early part of the last century. It became County Council offices and the town’s library in 1970 before becoming vacant in 1992. The other hotel (the St Ann’s) closed in 1989 and has remained empty.
The Natural Baths evolved over many centuries and occupies the site of the Roman Baths situated over the main mineral water spring. The current building was constructed in 1853 to the design of Henry Curry but was altered in the 1920s. It was partly refurbished as the Tourist Information Centre but the majority of the building has been empty since 1972. Henry Curry built the Pump Room for the 7th Duke of Devonshire in 1894. It was last used to “take the waters” in the 1970s.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund: From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. www.hlf.org.uk.
HLF previously awarded £12,533,000 to the project in 2006.
HLF has invested £10,090,050 in Buxton since 1994 including: The Opera House, £621,500, Buxton Pavilion Gardens, £3,515,550 and the establishment of the University of Derby campus at Devonshire Royal Hospital, £5,953,000
HPBC Media Release Contact: Carolyn Sanders – Media Relations Manager
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