Pipe survey suits property firm at world’s oldest department store

Drainage engineers from the Lanes Derby depot have contributed to a development project that could see the reopening of the property previously claiming to be the world’s oldest department store.

They have carried out a CCTV drainage survey which may lead to retail and other activities opening once again in the four-storey property in Irongate, Derby.

The former Bennetts department store opened as an ironmongers in 1734 before expanding to sell other goods, allowing it to claim the accolade of being world’s oldest department store.

Struggling to compete with online retailers, the shop, part of which is Grade II Listed, closed in 2019 after 285 years of trading, much to the dismay of many people in Derby and across the East Midands.

The owner of the site, Manston Investments Ltd, is now investigating options to refurbish and re-purpose the building, to provide a range of retail, office and residential accommodation.

As part of this process it commissioned the Lanes Derby depot to carry out a full CCTV drainage survey of all underground pipes.

Lanes Area Development Manager Chris Norbury said: “We were delighted to be asked to do this work on a site that’s so entwined with Derby’s heritage and history.

“Almost everyone who has lived in Derby for any length of time will have memories of visiting Bennetts. It’s good to think we are helping to restore the site’s fortunes.

“Carrying out a below ground CCTV drainage survey is a fundamental starting point for any building refurbishment programme.

“It ensures foul sewers and surface water drains are in good condition and are designed properly with the right capacity before building work above ground takes place.”

The Lanes team used remote access HD quality mini video cameras to obtain footage of 250 metres of clay drainage pipe beneath and around the building, most with diameters of 150mm and 225mm.

The CCTV survey process also recorded the connectivity, flows, material, use, and condition of all the pipework and related access points across the system.

Lynne Archer, Operations Director at Manston Investments Ltd, said: “Lanes did a great job for us. They were professional on site and provided us with a very detailed drainage report which will help us make key decisions as we bring the site back into use.

“There is a lot we need to do to bring back the Bennetts name as part of a comprehensive re-purposing of this historic building, and with the help of stakeholders in the city, we believe we can achieve such a goal.”

Lanes has significant experience of carrying out drainage surveys at very sensitive heritage sites across the UK, using the very latest remote-access robotic cameras and other diagnostic tools.

The company’s new central CCTV survey processing unit ensures the best expertise is available for providing fast and insightful analysis of survey data, with options to provide bespoke reports, if they are needed.

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