Client Background – Belper Rugby Club
BRUFC is a community-based flagship rugby club in Amber Valley. The club was founded in 1975 and in the early years the club played its games on local pitches, using public houses for a clubhouse. Previously based in Duffield the club moved in 1995 to Strutts Field in the heart of Belper.
Initially there was only changing facilities at the site and in 1996 Amber Valley Borough Council offered the club a prefabricated building that had previously been used as office accommodation. As these facilities were temporary, plans for a new clubhouse were approved with construction completed in 2004. The club then comprised of four changing rooms, referee changing rooms, a social area with kitchen and a fully licensed bar.
These facilities were adequate at the time for two adult male teams. But as the club diversified with veterans, juniors, and women’s teams there was a requirement for the clubhouse to extend to allow for the additional occupancy.
The site is situated in a sensitive location within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and the Belper and Milford conservation area. It is also next door to the Grade II Listed Babbington Hospital, which was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who also co-designed the Houses of Parliament. The proposal was supported by a Heritage Impact Assessment which provided a context analysis of the site and its surroundings, with careful regard for the DVMWHS Management Plan.
Belper Rugby Club have also consulted with Belper Town and Amber Valley Councillors who are supportive.
The submitted design was developed having regard for the design objectives set out in the ‘Design Rationale’ section of the DVMWHS Management Plan. It was hoped that the new extension had the potential to enhance the visual amenity of the area, as well as providing a useable resource. Making changes within the DVMWHS always demands that any impact on its outstanding universal value (OUV) is thoroughly assessed. In this case it shows that development is possible in the WHS where it can enhance its OUV. Overall, the development at Belper Rugby Club strived to be of a “higher quality” and reflect the aspirations of the Management Plan and accords with the good design policies of the NPPF and Local Plan.
Thankfully, with a supportive local authority (Amber Valley Borough Council), we were able to secure a planning consent in May 2022 which will allow Belper Rugby Club to continue to grow. Permission was granted for the construction of a new extension to the existing clubhouse, with associated deck area and ramped access. The extension will also result in the club being able to offer a new and much-needed social facility for the community of Belper in a town centre location.
Jon Millhouse is a Chartered Town Planner and member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).
Planning & Design Practice Ltd are a team of Planning Consultants and Architects, based in Derby and Sheffield, who specialise in heritage projects. We recognise that historic buildings and landscapes are intrinsic to our sense of place and identity, and have considerable experience of developments involving Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and World Heritage sites.
We have an in-house team of consultants, conservation architects and architectural technicians who ensure that proposals are designed sympathetically to conserve and enhance historic buildings and sites.
We have worked on numerous schemes affecting Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. We have the expertise and specialist knowledge to achieve success with your project regardless of its size. For more information on this project for Belper Rugby Club, or to discuss your own property please contact us on 01332 347371.