Derbyshire Dambusters museum is delayed and could now be years away

Plans for a Dambusters museum have been delayed and could now be years away.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 5:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 5:34 pm

Severn Trent Water put forward plans before lockdown for a museum marking the famous World War Two air raid, which featured specially adapted bouncing bombs dropped by aircrews who practised over the Derwent Dam.

It was to replace a previous museum, which had been in the towers at the dam before being closed by the water firm for safety reasons. It had been five-star rated on Tripadvisor.

But Severn Trent now says a replacement is years away as the firm did not get planning permission when the company required it, although it plans ‘new interpretation’ in the meantime.

Dambusters 3. Aerial view of the dam. March 29 02

A Severn Trent spokesperson said: “We were unfortunately unable to secure the planning permission required to build a new exhibition when we hoped to.

"This doesn’t mean that it won’t happen in the future, but it is not planned for the next few years.

"We do know how important the heritage of the area is though, so we have been working on some really exciting new interpretation to go around the site. We are hoping this can be installed in the coming months.”

Severn Trent had applied to the Peak District National Park Authority for permission to construct a new building at Fairholmes which would be home to the Dambusters exhibition previously located at Derwent Dam.

A Lancaster bomber over Derwent dam in the Peak District, to mark the 65th anniversary of the Dambusters raid. A new museum at Derwent to mark the raids has been delayed and could be years away (pic: David Jones/PA Wire)

A report submitted on behalf of the application says: “The Dambusters exhibition was previously housed within one of the towers of the nearby Derwent Dam.

“This was closed due to safety concerns of having this facility within what is an essential operational structure. Severn Trent has received over 1,000 enquiries in the past year about the Dambusters. The area surrounding Fairholmes and the dams is popular with walkers and cyclists.

“The Dambusters exhibition is a popular and important collection and Severn Trent is committed to letting visitors enjoy this again.”

The proposed new single-storey building at Fairholmes would be located on the site’s lower car park, close to the existing visitor centre, and requires the relocation of a number of parking spaces.

Dambuster actor Richard Todd at the Dambusters museum at derwent reservoir.Friday 29th March 2002. A new museum at Derwent to mark the raids has been delayed and could be years away

Severn Trent said at the time a permanent Dambusters exhibition, based on the now closed museum in the Derwent Dam tower, was planned.