PLANS have been unveiled for what could become a £3.5 million tourism, education and manufacturing hub for an Ashbourne firm.
Bosses at town centre jewellers CW Sellors have announced that a planning application is nearly ready to be submitted for what could realise a six-year-old dream of building a bigger, better head quarters incorporating space for tourists to learn more about the jewellery industry and a base for educating students.
The new building, overlooking Carsington Water of the B5035, has been showcased at a demonstration event aimed at consulting with people living and working in and around the town ahead of formally submitting an application to the Derbyshire Dales District Council.
The two-floor, 1,600 sq m building, is intended to eventually replace the family-run firm’s King Street manufacturing base and become its new headquarters - eventually creating more than 20 extra jobs.
Owner Chris Sellors, from Kniveton, said: “The plans aim to meet tourism needs, government policy and the businesses requirements.
“The Derbyshire Dales is one of Britain’s most scenic areas and is situated within two hours’ drive of almost half the UK population plus boasts over five million tourist visitors per year – thus the perfect location for a sustainable tourist attraction.
“Our intention is to enhance visitors experience in Derbyshire and offer something truly unique and are a result of years of preparation in building the business and working to educate consumers about British Manufacture and the importance of it.”
The proposed ‘Jewellery Design Centre of Excellence’ will incorporate metal and stone workshops for its current staff, but has been designed to allow growth into shops, a tea room and an auditorium for educational activities.
The proposed site is spread across sloping fields next to the Knockerdown pub and architects have incorporated wildflower meadows, picnic areas and existing trees and hedges.
The planning process is expected to take up to three months and, if given the green light, work could begin as soon as Spring 2014.
The intends to retain its current boutique shop in Victoria Square and expects its base in King Edward Street, which begun as its shop and manufacturing centre but has now been massively out-grown, would be sold to become a potential housing plot.
This, Mr Sellors told the News Telegraph, would help fund the new project.
To find out more, visit the new website, which was launched following the consultation event in Ashbourne, at www.cwsellorscarsington.com