Nottingham

Chilwell's Barton's bus depot's 300 homes plan

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Media captionArchive footage from Barton's bus depot in Chilwell

The headquarters of what was once the biggest independent bus firm in Western Europe could become a 300-home development.

Barton's in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, operated buses from 1908 to 1989.

From 2008 the former bus depot hosted outdoor cinemas, comedy nights, gigs and other events.

The Prince's Foundation charity, involved in the project, said it was helping to create a "new community" on the edge of Nottingham.

Image copyright Barton
Image caption Barton was founded by Thomas Henry Barton OBE and grew to be one of Europe's largest independent operators

When it was founded, the fourth-generation family business was one of the first bus firms in Britain.

Its first service was between Long Eaton, Derbyshire, and the Nottingham Goose Fair in October, 1908.

Image copyright Barton
Image caption Barton's pioneered long-distance coach journeys in the early 20th Century

During World War One, workers were transported to and from the nearby National Shell Filling Factory.

In 1930, it operated the first diesel-engine passenger-carrying road vehicle. Twenty years later it had a fleet of over 280.

Bus deregulation in the 1980s rendered the firm uncompetitive and the transport arm was sold off to rival Trent, which still operates in the East Midlands as Trent Barton.

From then Barton's focused on property investment.

Image copyright Barton
Image caption By the 1950s, Barton was operating hundreds of buses

From its centenary year to 2014, the building in High Road hosted a series of events.

But managing director Simon Barton has said the land was now "ripe for redevelopment".

"It's a valuable and well-situated brownfield site and when greenbelt is under threat it's better to come to sites like this in order to redevelop those," he said.

Earlier this month Mr Barton was granted a comprehensive licence for the sale of alcohol and for live music and sports events, despite opposition from some neighbours.

Image caption The Barton depot in Chilwell closed in 1989

The Prince Charles-backed foundation, which has been called the "creative force" behind the scheme, said it would try to maintain a balance between heritage and the redevelopment.

Senior director Ben Bolgar said: "It has so much history and character, it's crucial to incorporate these elements into anything new that we build. From the style of the building, to the materials used, even to its name."

Image caption The brownfield site has been earmarked for a new 300-home estate

Plans went on public display earlier this month and, if they are approved by Broxtowe Borough Council, work could start before the end of the year.

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