Nottingham Road, Derbyshire

Client: Private Investor
Sector: Commercial To Residential Conversion


This historical building set along Nottingham Road in Somercotes, Derbyshire, began life as the Premier Electric Theatre in January 1912. After changing hands and uses over the years, the building finally closed in 2013 and remained vacant until it was acquired by our client. 

This three-storey building overlooks the main road in a primarily residential area, as do many other commercial and service-based properties. It comprises the original theatre access, the hall, various public facilities, and a staircase connecting the ground floor with the upper gallery. The remaining space housed a full-height room, including the auditorium, the stage area with a projection room, and personnel facilities.


One essential consideration was preserving the building’s many historical features, typical of the English 19th/20th architectural style. We were also sympathetic to the period’s construction methods, materials, and geometries. A key part of the design process required studying the architectural quality and historic features of the existing building, including its usage, modifications, additions, and changes made to the original building over time. 


Our client’s goal was to convert this celebrated old theatre into 20 high-quality modern apartments. They wanted to modernise the space while preserving its heritage and restoring it as a focus of local pride. Breathing life into this neglected building would also require the creation of social areas in the new design to support a sense of community. 

Process and insights 

We worked closely with the local planning department to ensure our design preserved the property’s historical features, which are much loved by the community and council. Before submitting a full planning application, we presented a pre-planning application–with CGIs and all required information–which gave all parties clear insight into what could be achieved. During the planning process, we also managed to remove the CIL tax, saving our client £200,000. 


Sections of the building were in such dire condition we decided to demolish them altogether. We erected a fresh build with a contemporary architectural style in their place while preserving the road-facing historical features. The new structure followed the existing perimeter while providing a more regular, functional shape for the three-storey building with 14 one-bedroom flats and six two-bedroom flats. 

The design also promoted environmental practices and green mobility with dedicated spaces for bicycles and recycling bins. 


We designed a proposal to improve the area’s quality, which was greatly appreciated by the local community. It gave the building a brand new, modern look while preserving the meaningful characteristics tied to its history. 

We firmly believe that safeguarding the memory of the building’s past leads to a stronger connection with the local community. For this reason, we proposed to retain the Nottingham Road facade, which is considered to have the most precious architectural qualities. 

The design was shaped with the end-user in mind with inclusive spaces that foster community spirit and enable people, including those with special needs, to build solid, lasting relationships.

If you have a project in mind, get in touch with the Credo Asset Management team.