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Bid to breathe new life into East Lancashire mills
ENGLISH Heritage has launched a campaign to bring hundreds of disused and derelict mills in East Lancashire back into use.
A survey of Lancashire’s 540 surviving textile mills by the charity has discovered that the equivalent of more than 175 football pitches of floor space is not being used.
English Heritage said it is hoped that the research will encourage developers and mill owners in the county to consider how these important buildings can be re-developed.
Darren Ratcliffe, from the group, said: “In response to an increasing awareness that historic mill buildings were being lost, English Heritage commissioned an initial two-year survey by Lancaster-based Oxford Archaeology North of the county’s textile-manufacturing sites.
“This revealed that more than two-thirds of the 1,661 such sites that once existed in Lancashire, have been demolished.
“We will now be looking carefully at those mill sites that remain to decide which ones are significant enough to be considered for listing.
“This will mean that alteration, extension or demolition affecting their character will need consent from the local authority.
“We hope that our work will lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of the role that textile manufacturing has made to the history and economy of Lancashire, to shaping its towns and its landscape.”
Steven Szostak, from Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, said: “But of course future uses need to be viable – the survey is not simply about preservation for the sake of it.
“Increasingly such properties are playing their part in modern regeneration and are being modified to an award winning standard of design and innovation. It presents a greater challenge than standard commercial build and re- furbishment, but the rewards can be huge – both commercially and aesthetically.”
He said the Weavers’ Triangle in Burnley, one of the most intact industrial areas in the North West, is a good example of where plans are in place to regenerate the area, with plans to develop a new technical college and office scheme.