Feature Image Matlock Dcc

Derbyshire County Council has progressed plans for the conversion of Derbyshire County Council’s HQ Matlock County Hall into a vibrant mixed-use development, including hotel, leisure, residential and workplace accommodation.


The historic Victorian, Grade-II listed building formerly known as Smedley’s Hydropathic Establishment currently provides headquarters for the County Council. Originating in 1867, the Hydro Spa became the Council’s HQ in 1955. However, due to contemporary workplace typologies and changing user needs, the County Hall has become inefficient with limited flexibility and adaptability in responding to modern and future workplace trends.

With Realestateworks, HLM Architects led the extensive business case stages, exploring possibilities for the development of County Hall. The Strategic Outline Business Case identified multiple options for the reuse of the site and buildings, which were carefully considered against key criteria such as:

  • Long-term financial sustainability
  • Improved contemporary Council workplace
  • Economic boost to Matlock and the surrounding region
  • Alignment with the Council’s objectives including carbon reduction, community support and celebrating culture and heritage
  • Attracting private investment.

These criteria were further developed to inform an Outline Business Case for a unique destination, mixed-use development, including: high-quality hotel accommodation and events and leisure venue; residential conversion; and a studio/office base for SME and start-up businesses.

Derbyshire County Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Simon Spencer, said:

“We want to give County Hall a new lease of life that will capitalise on the special nature of the historic buildings and the uniqueness of Matlock being on the fringe of one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions – the Peak District”.

HLM Architects with Realestateworks and the wider business case team, alongside the Council’s Project Board identified the preferred option which would both diversify the economy in Matlock and support the council’s workforce and workplace transformation programmes.

Richard O’Neil, Chair at HLM Architects, commented:

“Our Regeneration team has worked closely with the Council to understand the needs of both the community and the economy of Matlock. We’re pleased to see the business case approved, and we’re looking forward to seeing this significant project take shape in the coming months. Repurposing existing Council assets to create sustainable and long term benefits for stakeholders must become a critical focus within the public sector.”

The scheme is anticipated to provide over 130 permanent jobs, generate significant GVA benefits to Matlock and the wider County, save over £130m in repairs and upgrades, and reduce the Council’s current projected running cost of £3.3m per year.

HLM Architects also prepared the conservation strategy for the estate, highlighting the significance of each room within listed buildings across the site. Maintaining the character of the Victorian complex is central to the plans, while providing contemporary provisions for multiple uses.

The Outline Business Case will now seek to obtain outline planning, developing the design of the new offices, and securing a partner or partners for the conversion and redevelopment of County Hall.

Project team:

  • Realestateworks
  • RLB
  • BNP Paribas
  • Montagu Evans
  • Mott Mac (Transport)
  • BakerHicks
  • EKOS


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