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New lease of life for historic Leeds mill site

GREEN DREAM: An artists impression of the planned development at Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley.

GREEN DREAM: An artists impression of the planned development at Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley.

  • by Laura Bowyer
 

Plans to transform and rejuvenate a historic Leeds mill have been revealed.

The owners of Sunny Bank Mills are hoping to breathe new life into the Farsley site by taking inspiration from Bradford’s World Heritage Site, Salts Mill.

The scheme, which will see the mill transformed into a business centre and leisure facility, aims to reclaim its status as one of the west Leeds village’s biggest employers.

The 10 year development plan could see up to 500 jobs created over the next seven years as part of a multi-million pound investment.

Owners and directors William and John Gaunt opened up the mill to give residents the chance to find out more about their ambitions for the historic site.

John Gaunt said: “We want to bring the mill back into the Farsley townscape and make Farsley proud of Sunny Bank Mills again.

“We are aiming for the Salts Mill of Farsley and we want people to feel proud of the mills again.

“Part of the vision is centred around making it commercially viable and we have looked at elements of the most successful sites including Salts Mill.

“We want to re-establish that pride.”

The Gaunt’s vision for the future includes creating a grand piazza area complete with cafes, a restaurant and a spa.

One of the buildings is set to be transformed into a gallery space and the scheme will see the site opened up by knocking down some of the crumbling buildings that are currently beyond repair .

The Gaunt’s plans could see the creation of additional parking spaces and they also want to retain the dense woodland and pond at the back of the sprawling site.

Mr Gaunt, who used to work on the shop floor during his school holidays, added: “Our aspirations are preserving the legacy which is in our blood.

“In my mind’s eye I’m seeing buildings lit up and lots of people pouring down the yards just as they did 50 years ago.”

The Gaunts are hoping to submit a formal planning application to Leeds City Council next year to be considered by planners for approval.

 

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