Potential of Yorkshire's empty disused textile mills revealed

The potential of Yorkshire's empty disused textile mills has been laid out in a hard-hitting report released today.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 7:19 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 7:20 am
The Hunslet and Victoria flax spinning mills in Leeds are being converted as part of the Victoria Riverside development. PIC: Historic England Archive

The report focuses on the vast scale of potential for historic mills around God's own county to create new homes, jobs and green growth.

Driving northern growth through repurposing historic mills was commissioned by Historic England and was due to be presented to the Northern Culture All Party Parliamentary Group today. (September 23)

It reveals that there are 237 vacant and underused mills in Yorkshire, most of which are in West Yorkshire.

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The 750,000 sqm of vacant floor space in these historic buildings - the equivalent of around 105 football pitches - could accommodate almost 9,000 homes in Yorkshire. There is space for a further 15,400 homes on the surplus land around mills.

Alternatively, 27,600 jobs could be accommodated the report highlights if the vacant space in Yorkshire’s mills was repurposed for a mix of office and light industrial use.

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Stephen Miles, partner at report authors Cushman and Wakefield, said: “We have seen a surge in the market’s appetite to repurpose textile mills for residential and commercial purposes, and this latest work underlines the scale of the opportunity that remains.”

Trevor Mitchell, Historic England’s North East and Yorkshire regional director, said: “Yorkshire’s mills are such an important part of our history, culture and landscape. These amazing buildings and sites can accommodate wonderful homes, workplaces and cultural spaces. Special places where the history and character shines through.”

Jason McCartney, MP for Colne Valley and Northern Culture All Party Parliamentary Group Vice-Chair, said: “Regenerated historic textile mills can unlock social and economic benefits for the people of the north by driving the regeneration of whole areas, and helping to deliver the Government’s Levelling Up Agenda. They can provide a focal point for communities, enhancing quality of life, creating homes and jobs, attracting investment and aiding economic recovery."

He added: “I have seen the benefits of successful mill regeneration first hand in Colne Valley where Titanic Mills is now home to apartments and an award-winning spa, and Acre Mill has been redeveloped as the NHS Outpatients Department for the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. Recently, we’ve also seen Globe Mill in Slaithwaite transformed into a modern state-of-the art business space. These conversions each, in their own way, make a valuable contribution to the community and I am keen to help unlock opportunities for future mill redevelopment in my constituency.”

Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. It aims to protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation.

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