THE owner of a historic mill which forms a focal point of a Ribble Valley village is still seeking a buyer after a six year struggle.

Walter Aspinal bought the then derelict Union Mill in Watt Street, Sabden, in 1986 for £35,000 and set about restoring it to its original glory.


The 67-year-old has operated the Pendle Antiques Centre from the 18th century mill for almost 30 years but decided to put it on the market in 2009.

The former cotton mill has been completely refurbished over the last three decades with a major rebuilding project launched at the back of the mill in 2000.

The mill, which was constructed in 1857, was originally put up for sale for around £2m but the asking price has been steadily decreasing in recent years and now stands at £850,000.

A bid to sell it at an auction last year fell through when not a single bid was placed at the sale in Manchester.

Dad-of-three Mr Aspinal said: “My wife Deryl and I want a different pace to our lives and we have been looking after it for seven days a week for many years now.

“It’s been hard to get someone to buy it for some reason and we have had to drop the asking price by £400,000 this time.

“We want to focus on other things and have more leisure time which we have not had much of because of running the business and looking after the building.

“I’ve not stopped spending money on it since I bought it in April 1986 and the company itself was set up in October of that year.”

Cllr Richard Newmark, who represents the village on Ribble Valley Borough Council, said: “It’s a focal point for the village when you are coming into Sabden from Padiham and it has been trading as an antiques business for quite some time.

“I know the family well and they have run a very good business and have done a great job in restoring the old building.

“It would be a shame if the centre was to close but I’m sure that Sabden Parish Council would consider someone’s application for changing its use.

“It’s in a commanding location in the village and has been a firm fixture in Sabden for more than 150 years.

“The company itself has been successful and has exported items all across the world including Japan, The United States and China.

“I wish them luck and I hope that there is a resolution soon.”