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Planning permission sought for rail training and innovation centre

The Derbyshire Rail Industry Innovation Vehicle (DRIIVe)

Planning permission is being sought for the Derbyshire Rail Industry Innovation Vehicle (DRIIVe) - a modern rail innovation and training centre set to be located next to the historic Barrow Hill Roundhouse.

If approved the new centre will provide workshop and classroom space to support speciality rail industry training, research and development facilities and commercial space for rail related businesses.

In total the building is expected to cost around £4 million. Funding for the project has been provided through the Staveley Town Deal.

Development of the centre is being delivered by Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society, Chesterfield Borough Council and New Rail (part of Newcastle University).

Councillor Tricia Gilby, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council and vice chair of the Staveley Town Deal Board, said: “The Rail sector offers a fantastic range of high-quality careers and DRIIVe is all about ensuing our residents can receive the skills and training they need to access these opportunities. This is an ambitious project that will create opportunities for generations to come and reflects the council’s aims to expand the local Rail sector.

“I’m delighted that Town Deal funding is being used to support the development of this building because new training facilities like this will improve career prospects and help ensure that Staveley is the place to start, to stay and to grow.”

Mervyn Allcock, general manager at Barrow Hill Roundhouse, said: “If it is approved, DRIIVe will help establish Barrow Hill as the home of the rail industry in Chesterfield and we look forward to speaking to companies about the potential benefits of being based at the centre. Any revenue from the building will be used to support the Roundhouse in achieving its aim of preserving our local Rail heritage.”

DRIIVe will provide 1,423 square metres of floor space consisting of classroom and workshop training areas, specialist research and development facilities including a digital laboratory, and commercial offices.

The centre will support a network of speciality training providers - offering rail-related education from level 2 through to postgraduate training and research.

Becoming a prominent location for rail technology, DRIIVe will also serve as a base for rail-related supply chain businesses which will have access to the very latest research and innovation.

DRIIVe will create about 20 full time jobs and by year five it aims to support around 270 trainees, supporting local people to access highly skilled careers in the rail industry.  

Early development and design costs were funded through the Staveley Town Deal Accelerator Fund.


First published on 09 November 2023 Last updated on 10 January 2024