What's the Story, Morning Glory?
Why save an old building? There are so many reasons it's hard to list them here, but we've put together some of the main things that we think are 'good reasons' to save HGS. These are:
It's a brilliant building - it's Grade II listed for a reason. Outside, it's clear that it's got style. It has lovely round windows with arches. Inside, it's a beautiful work of art, with oak panelling through the building, gorgeous archways and little nooks and crannies. You can see the listed building status information on the following link:
It's got great potential to be used for the community - not just in Heanor but beyond in the towns and villages of Amber Valley and Erewash. Have a look at our 'vision' page to see some of the ideas so far.
It's part of Heanor's heritage. It was designed by George Widdows who was Derbyshire's Chief Architect - he was known for designing really great public buildings.
It has a huge painting (a 'triptych') which is a work of national importance - and is part of the listing. It's a real work of art, but about the men and boys of Heanor who died in the first world war. That's a big part of Heanor's heritage. And it's probably worth thousands of pounds. The Triptych is also a war memorial and was paid for by public subscription
The building is at risk - thieves have stolen the lead from the roof, which is now leaking - and inside the beautiful parquet floors and the panels will soon be ruined. It needs urgent action to save the building - right now!
The site was owned by Derby College, who were 'given' the site and the building free of charge when they merged with South-East Derbyshire College in 2010. This was a transfer - so they got the site free. They also got the old SEDC site on Ilkeston Road, which is now housing, and the site in Ilkeston - now a Morrisson's supermarket. Now they have sold the HGS site. What will HGS be? Since Derby College stopped providing education there, the only option for people from Heanor is to travel to either Ilkeston, Derby, or Broomfield.
Derby College sold the site to a developer in 2016. Their planning application to develop the site as flats was turned down in 2018.
The orignal building was built by a levy on the people of Heanor early this century - and the land where the car park and 'science block' were acquired from grants from local Councils who gave them for educational purposes. So we say to Derby College - give it back to us! HGS is too important for Heanor to lose. It should be returned to the community whose ancestors paid for it.
We have talked to English Heritage and to the Heritage Lottery Fund - who help to make sure that buildings like this are preserved for the future. We want to make a case for them to help us to bring this building back to life. We need help from organisations like them, who help to protect our country's heritage. We think we can make a really positive case for how the building can be used by the community, and how it can be sustained for the future. That's why we've done some proper research to see how the community in and around Heanor want to use it. We want something that is in our community - for our community.
What about Derby College and training?
Derby College tried but failed to get a digital studio at the site. They said there wasn't enough demand. But in our research with over 1,000 people who live in Heanor, around 7 out of 10 people said they wanted to see education and training at the site.
That's not just 700 people who want to learn though - that's just out of the people we spoke to. That would be thousands of learners if you think about all of the people who live in Heanor and around.
People want to learn lots of different things - arts, science, maths, languages. Maybe Derby Colege didn't offer us the right sort of learning for our area?
Don't we need more houses?
The main part of the site is taken up by a Grade II listed building which is protected both inside and out. Getting planning for houses on the site will be almost impossible to do.
To be able to use the building, the rest of the site is needed for car parking and for fire escapes. It also needs some outside space - for example to provide a good quality nursery we'd need a play area, so we'd need the old playground. There are also some lovely gardens that need restoring.
We think that we could also use the site to help to improve the rest of Heanor - imagine a beautiful, restored building, with a walkway leading to the Memorial park, and then the other way, to some fantastic shops in the Market Place. And some pedestrianised areas too, like they have in Ilkeston and Belper? What difference would that make to Heanor!?
Is it too expensive for the community to run?
We are working on what is known as a 'business plan' and a 'feasibility study'.
The business plan will help us to make sure that we can put the building to good use and make sure it's going to carry on into the future (some people call this 'sustainability'.
The 'feasiblity study' will work out how we do it, and what we'll need to do to bring the building back into use for the community. This will all be backed up by the research we've already done.