Historic England (HE) reports that 85% of England’s population says they are against demolition and replacement of mills, with 70% saying they should be considered for new housing, offices and public amenities before constructing new buildings, and this number rises to 79% among those from the North of England.
Historic England writes:
A new report says almost half of all historic mills in Greater Manchester have been destroyed since the 1980s. Floor space for 25,000 new homes identified in Greater Manchester and Lancashire alone – Historic England calls mills ‘distinctive and character-filled’ and is against their demolition and replacement with new buildings where this is avoidable Historic England calls for industrial mill buildings to be at the centre of regeneration and new publication showcases viable new uses for old mills
£252,000 repair grant awarded to Leigh Spinners mill, Lancashire
Catherine Dewar, HE’s Planning Director in the North West, said:
‘With their ability to accommodate wonderful homes, workplaces and cultural spaces, our historic mill buildings deserve a future and should not be destroyed. They helped make us who we are in the north of England and have a profound impact on the physical and cultural landscape.
Mills have so much to offer in terms of space, character and identity. By shining a light on successful regeneration projects, we hope to inspire others to recognise the potential of our former industrial buildings and start a conversation about their future.’
A report by the University of Salford, funded by Historic England, has today revealed that nearly half of Greater Manchester’s historic mills (45%) have been destroyed since the 1980s. Salford is the borough which has lost the most, with 66% lost over the last 30 years.There is calculated to be 1,996,597 square metres of vacant floor space in textile mills across Greater Manchester and Lancashire – equivalent to 25,000 new homes. Historic England believes that mills can and should accommodate the North West’s growth needs. Mill buildings are also distinctive, character-filled places which offer a connection between past and future generations.
Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor, said: ‘It’s a real shame that half of Greater Manchester’s historic mills have been lost. These buildings are an important part of our industrial legacy – the original Northern Powerhouse. But equally they are an important part of our future, whether that’s creating new jobs for local people by investing in the industries of the future, providing much-needed affordable housing, or transforming these unique spaces into cultural destinations. I fully support Historic England’s plea to ensure our remaining mills have a key place in the developing fabric of our region.’
The North West publication is the second in the ‘Engines of Prosperity’ series, and follows a 2016 study of West Yorkshire’s textile mills. Both reports were commissioned by Historic England and produced by Cushman & Wakefield and Lathams Architects.