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Heritage and arts centre plan for historic West Yorkshire flour mill

The former mill by the River Aire that could be turned into an arts centre.

The former mill by the River Aire that could be turned into an arts centre.

  • by Mark Lavery
 

A landmark former flour mill on the banks of the River Aire near Castleford town centre could be given a new lease of life.

Castleford Heritage Trust has unveiled ambitious plans to transform the old Allinsons mill into a major heritage and arts centre.

The mill closed nearly two years ago when current leaseholders ADM Milling moved out.

An anonymous benefactor has given Castleford Heritage Trust an interest-free, indefinite loan, which will allow it to buy the mill outright.

Lottery funding would allow the trust to refurbish the building, which was built in 1898.

The trust is close to signing a deal to buy the mill on Aire Street from current owners the Canal and River Trust and will apply for Heritage Lottery Funding in the new year. Castleford Queen’s Mill Project will see the building converted into a centre which will include a sculpture and art gallery, cafe and craft classes, heritage centre, community space, and it is hoped a training restaurant for young chefs and a school of sculpture, teaching skills like boat building, repair and stonemasonry.

It will also start using the stone mill wheels to grind flour, which would be used in a bakery, along with baking classes, while the trust plans to get the water wheel working again to generate electricity.

Interior and landscape architecture students from Leeds Metropolitan University are already working on designs for the building and its surroundings.

Alison Drake, trust chairman, said: “This centre is for the whole of the Five Towns and surrounding areas, not just for Castleford. It’s for the community and visitors, and we’re hoping it will become a regional destination.

“Our benefactor wants to know the community is behind us so we are launching a fundraising campaign on Monday to raise £50,000 to give us a base to get the necessary surveys done and so we have a contingency fund.”

 

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