Matlock Spa - Spa Lofts starts on site

Following the recent completion of Phase 1 of David Morley Architects ‘empathetic masterplan’ for Matlock Spa, the second phase has now started on site.  Known as Spa Lofts, it will provide 24 loft-style apartments in a building which echoes the robustness and simplicity of some of the wonderful mill buildings in the Derbyshire Dales. It sits opposite the recently completed Spa Villas and will complete Gateway Spa, the first of five spa villages which will provide a total of 494 homes in a 700,000 sqft development.


Gateway Spa is closest to Matlock town centre and has a more urban scale than the other spa villages. Three spa villas step up the slope along Matlock Spa Road and the four-storey Spa Loft building sits opposite, nestled below a cliff. The entrance to Matlock Spa is framed by these buildings and a rocky outcrop which gives an evocative reminder of the industrial heritage of Cawdor Quarry. 


This latest Rifkind Associates development sets a new benchmark for the quality and sustainability of housing in the UK. It showcases the following:


-          All electric – no gas boilers

-          Enriches the ecology and CO2 capture of agricultural land and wetlands

-          Uses local low carbon materials

-          Develops a brownfield site close to good transport links and shops

-          Encourages an active healthy lifestyle


The scheme is bringing a new use to Cawdor Quarry, which was abandoned in the 1950s. The design recognises that the post-industrial landscape has spectacular potential as a focal point for a new community of homes in one of the most sustainable locations possible, just five minutes’ walk from Matlock Railway Station and 10 minutes’ walk from the town centre. Each village boasts its own distinctive character offering a wide range of homes to appeal to all ages and income levels in the form of crescents, woodland lodges, courtyard cottages and spa villas. The vision embraces the natural setting and its many varied features, from cliff faces to lakes and the open fields of the flood plain fronting onto the Derwent Valley Heritage Trail. This will be an active landscape offering opportunities for many outdoor pursuits, including walking, cycling, fishing, and space for informal and formal play for all ages.


Healthy town design features include:


-       Pathways and roads are designed to encourage walking and cycling connecting to Matlock town centre and to the extensive network of footpaths and cycle ways that are linked to this site.

-       Front doors face out to the country park setting and cars are discretely hidden in courtyards and under buildings.

-       All homes are designed to make the most of daylight and sunlight and there are no north facing gardens.


The character of Spa Lofts is designed with a consistent approach to the use of natural stone as the principal elevational material. It refers to the strong vernacular of the Derbyshire Dales and reinforces its connection to the former quarry and the unique rocky outcrops and cliff faces on the site. Stone is a robust and durable material with a low embodied carbon footprint and Birchover stone was selected as it is a local stone whose quarry is located only six miles from the site. The stone has a warm and varying buff colour with pinkish hues and is used in varying textures and sizes to provide variation and interest.


Sustainability and low carbon credentials were a priority in developing this scheme, air source heat pumps provide hot water, and heating loads are reduced through a well-insulated building fabric and draught free construction exceeding Building Regulations requirements. Use of thermal mass helps to reduce internal peak temperatures and all dwellings have responsive temperature and ventilation control systems.


Spa Lofts is being built by Wildgoose, the contractor who successfully delivered the first phase.