PART of a historic mill at a gateway into Burnley town centre could be demolished to make way for homes and shops.

Developer St Mowden has submitted fresh plans to knock down most of Finsley Gate Mill, on the banks of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, in Finsley Gate.

The Birmingham-based firm was granted outline planning permission for a £20million mixed-use development, including 168 homes, offices, ind-ustrial space, a hotel, and leisure and community hubs, in May 2011.

At the time, St Mowden said it expected the scheme to create around 300 jobs.

But the former mill has remained derelict for the past two years.

The developer has now submitted a revised scheme which will retain the older ‘and more significant portion’ of the mill for leisure, or commerc-cial uses, together with the mill chimney.

St Mowden bought Finsley Gate Mill, which dates back to 1820, and Healey Royd Mill, from shoe-maker Lambert Howarth in 2005.

It has since demolished the latter.

In a planning statement, the developer said: “Drawing on expert advice, St Modwen has now drawn the conclusion that there is no realistic prospect of securing investment for the conversion of the Finsley Gate Mill in the medium term.

“And that its continued presence blights prospects for development of both the Healey Royd and Mile Wharf site on the opposite side of the canal, thus hampering wider regeneration objectives.

“The only realistic means of securing regeneration of both sites depends on demolishing the main section of the Finsley Gate Mill, so as to facilitate canalside residential development and env- ironmental enhancement,” added the planning ststement.

The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, which has been at the forefront of the Weavers’ Triangle redevelopment, has previously been opposed to the demolition of the Finsley Gate Mill.

The fresh planning application by the developer is expected to go before Burnley borough councillors in the new year.