Ambitious new video footage of an alternative vision for Burton's Bargates site has been revealed as the town's Civic Society draws up battle plans to block a £20 million housing and shops scheme.

Burton Civic Society has unveiled its own proposals for Bargates and its prime location overlooking the River Trent on the Washlands - including restaurants, cafes, leisure, retail and housing.

Society members say they have already gained enthusiastic support when the group's draft vision for Bargates was revealed at its annual general meeting, held at Branston Golf and Country Club.

East Staffordshire Borough Council's planning department is currently in ongoing negotiations over a proposal to build 140 homes on the site, half of which are sheltered housing.

The section of the development also includes a café area that can be used by residents and members of the public, with internal and external seating areas and views across the River Trent Washlands.

Burton Civic Society unveils new vision for Bargates

In a £20 million scheme, the seven-acre Bargates site off High Street, Burton, could now be turned into 68 homes and flats as well as 72 two-bedroom apartments for the elderly as a sheltered housing block along with two shops after a long-awaited planning application was finally submitted by Jessup Build Develop.

At the meeting, a video sequence, produced for the Society by Stafford-based Aaron Chetwynd Architect Studio, was shown, outlining the possibilities of the site.

Richard Stone of the Civic Society said: "While we would welcome this development anywhere else in Burton, we feel it is inappropriate for the Bargates site, where we have a unique opportunity to create a vibrant town centre gateway with an active river frontage.

"What we would like to see is a high-quality, mixed-use development with an active frontage to the Washlands making the most of the riverside location."

The civic society wants a mixed use of cafe, restaurants, retail, leisure and housing

The society has proposed a mixed use of restaurants, café, leisure, retail, and housing (apartments overlooking the riverside with mews-style housing behind).

Mr Stone added: "The square shape of the riverside apartments echo the Bass Water Tower and Meadowside beyond, merging into the gabled buildings of restaurant and café moving towards Burton Bridge to link with the Georgian buildings in Bridge Street and reflect the character of the area.

"This development is designed to both link with High Street and also open up the Washlands and encourage public use.

"We believe sustainable environmental elements can be built in, for example ground source heating, possibly even using the weir for a small scale hydro-electric unit (we’d like to see under-lighting of Burton Bridge)."

Bargates is a prime position overlooking the River Trent

Mick Clifford, chairman of Burton Civic Society planning committee, said: "Our aim is to build public support for our ideas, and to attract a contractor to put forward alternative plans for a high-quality, mixed development that will capitalise on the significant regeneration opportunities this site offers."

Under plans submitted by Jessup Build Develop there would be reconfiguration of the current leisure centre car parking which will provide 141 car parking spaces including seven disabled spaces. This had been part of a design specified by the council.

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The developers also say a public realm area with views across the Trent will provide a performance space for impromptu art performances on the Washlands, accessed via a pedestrian boulevard linked to the existing pedestrian crossing in High Street.

Bargates was once home to The Riverside shopping centre which included a range of shops as well as Burton's bowling alley, which closed down in 2007, and was subsequently demolished to make way for a Tesco superstore - a plan which was later axed due to the chain's financial issues.

Jessup Build Develop has chosen not to comment on the footage.

Time Line

Burton's Bargates

  1. MARCH 2004

    Council admits the Riverside Leisure Centre, known as Bargates, had become an embarrassment with just a few units open, including Superbowl 200 which still had 14 years on its lease and had 'no desire to move'.

  2. SEPTEMBER 2004

    The council reveals a cafe quarter plan for Bargates with accommodation, bars, cafe and a hotel.

  3. MAY 2005

    The Mail exclusively reveals that the council has lined up a deal with Tesco, which would see Bargates turned into a giant Tesco Extra store. The deal in principle included Tesco paying the council £8 million towards the cost of a new leisure centre to replace the Meadowside, which would have been demolished under the plans.

  4. AUGUST 2007

    One of the last remaining units on Riverside, Indian restaurant Manzil, moves to the former Ocean nightclub, off Guild Street, where it remains to this day.

  5. AUGUST 19, 2007

    Superbowl 2000 closes to make way for the Tesco development. At the time Superbowl owner Jerry Hodges said he was keen to relocate and was looking for a site in Burton.

  6. DECEMBER 2007

    The council pulls out of a deal with Tesco to demolish the neighbouring Meadownside Leisure Centre due to sky-rocketing costs. An application for the Riverside Centre is still expected to be submitted.

  7. FEBRUARY 2008

    Arsonists strike at former Superbowl 2000.

  8. NOVEMBER 2008

    A Tesco plan to build nine glass-fronted retail units on the site is unanimously rejected by council planners after the scheme is branded as "unimaginative".

  9. DECEMBER 1, 2009

    Three options are listed for Bargates' future: a residential-led redevelopment, a retail-led redevelopment or a mixture of both.

  10. MAY 30, 2010

    Tesco indicates a willingness to relinquish the site and move to the former Condor site, which never came to fruition. Proposals are put forward for a mix of retail, office and residential buildings, including a hotel overlooking the River Trent.

  11. JUNE 3, 2010

    Tesco installs large wooden boards to screen the eyesore from public view.

  12. JUNE 15, 2010

    East Staffordshire Borough Council announces its intention to appoint a developer by the end of 2010.

  13. SEPTEMBER 21, 2010

    Tesco's board of directors agrees the sale of the site to East Staffordshire Borough Council for £4 million.

  14. APRIL 12, 2011

    Meanwhile, Tesco is given permission for a superstore in Hawkins Lane. This plan never came to fruition after financial difficulties led Tesco to put the site up for sale.

  15. FEBRUARY 2, 2012

    Demolition begins at the Bargates site.

  16. MAY 28, 2012

    The council announces Bargates will be turned into a 'village green'.

  17. JULY 4 2012

    The council puts up 'The Bargates Job' on the site.

  18. FEBRUARY 21, 2013

    The council announces it has full ownership of Bargates and it is up for sale – maintaining the preferred mixed use option in a bid to attract developers.

  19. JULY 15, 2014

    Councillors reveal plans to spend part of a £1.5 million grant on making Bargates more attractive. It came after work started to improve the appearance of shops opposite, to show the authority was keen to regenerate High Street.

  20. MAY 2015

    Councillor Richard Grosvenor, leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, said the authority was hoping to work in partnership with other agencies to bring sheltered housing to the site.

  21. JANUARY 2016

    A major developer is in talks to buy Bargates but discussions break down in March.

  22. AUGUST 2016

    Contractors were spotted drilling on the site to ascertain the site's development costs.

  23. SEPTEMBER 2016

    It is revealed a deal has been struck for offices and extra-care facilities on Bargates.

  24. AUGUST 2017

    Developer Jessup Build Develop reveals a planning application could be submitted in September.

  25. December 2017

    Jessup Build Develop submit planning application to East Staffordshire Borough Council

  26. January 2018

    Jessup Build Develop hold public consultation at Meadowside Leisure Centre. Burton Civic Society formally objects to the proposals

  27. February 2018

    The consultation period ends and objections submitted by Burton Parish Council and Burton Bridge Brewery are revealed.