Sunday, December 3, 2023

No Car Museum For Ambergate

The proposed Ambergate Motor Heritage Centre had been approved by Amber Valley Borough Council in October for the former Richard Johnson & Nephew Wire Works on the A6.

Applicant for the scheme, The Great British Car Journey Ltd, said there were a number of reasons why the project would no longer be going ahead.

These are illnesses among the firm’s directors; the cost of the development; and the impact of flooding on the site, which sits next to the River Derwent.

The project had been due to open in April, creating 30 jobs and showcasing more than 100 cars.

Visitors were to take a “ten-stage journey” through significant periods of British car history, from the 1920s to the modern day.

This exhibition would have been called “The Great British Car Journey – when Britain ruled the road”.

Part of the project would have involved visitors being able to drive a selection of the museum’s exhibits along a defined mile-long route on the extensive site, around the buildings of an existing construction firm.

This would have been called the Drive Dad’s Car experience.

A statement shared by the Great British Car Journey on Thursday, February 13, says: “The directors of the visitor attraction Great British Car Journey regret to announce that the project, due to open in Derbyshire this April, cannot proceed any further due to circumstances beyond our control.
“Sadly, two of the directors have been diagnosed with illnesses requiring extensive treatment and are therefore unable to continue work on the project.
“The situation has been further aggravated by issues with the site at Ambergate, including the recent flooding, and for unforeseen additional development costs.
“As a result, the funding that had been secured is no longer available to the business.
“The directors would like to thank everyone who has shown enormous commitment to the venture both locally and nationally. In the current circumstances this support is much appreciated.”

The firm had still been filing minor planning applications relating to the proposals in the past few weeks.
These included plans to remove asbestos on January 23, installation of new signs to advertise the business on February 7 and an application to further outline how the Drive Dad’s Car experience would work and be managed on February 10 – three days before the project was pulled.

The museum was to feature the Morris Minor, Austin 7, Mini along with celebrations of the Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus and McLaren.

The proposed site had operated as a wire factory from 1876 until it closed in 1996.

At its peak, the wire works had employed 500 people and famously produced the telegraph cables laid underneath the English Channel during World War II.

Eddie Bisknell (LDRS)

Eddie writes for Nailed through the Local Democracy Reporting Service, in partnership with the BBC. The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a partnership of media outlets sharing reporters to cover council meetings.

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