Plans for a new housing development on the site of a former fire-ravaged mill in Saddleworth have been revealed.
Under proposals submitted to Oldham council, the site that contains Bailey Mill on New Delph Road would be transformed with the construction of 60 homes – with most of the now derelict mill buildings being demolished.
The mill complex, which dates from 1863, was Grade-Two listed in 2016 as being of special historic interest and is contained within the Delph Conservation boundary. However the main body of the woollen mill was destroyed by a fire in June 2016. Residents had to be evacuated from nearby homes and the surrounding roads were closed as the fire raged on for more than three hours.
Bailey Mill previously had been standing empty for around 25 years following its closure. The planning documents state that the ‘devastating fire’ resulted from ‘young person’s trespassing into the building’ which destroyed the principal mill structure.
According to the documents submitted on behalf of the applicant Gledhill’s and Sons Ltd, the remaining structures are ‘on the whole in a perilous condition’ and are ‘structurally unsound’. “Following the fire, the options for redevelopment were undertaken and residential conversion was the only realistic and viable option,” the design and access report states.
“The development of this semi-rural site serves to regenerate and respond to the housing demand in this area plus regenerates a run-down site and series of heritage buildings.”
The scheme, which includes the retention and conversion of the blending shed, office building and chimney comprises of one, two, three and four-bedroom properties. These would be a mixture of houses and apartments, in a four-storey block.
A pond which was part of the original mill would also be retained, and access to the development would be created from Station Approach.
The documents state that the ‘Delph Donkey’ pedestrian route between Uppermill and Delph would also be enhanced as part of the development.
There have been seven objections and four supporting comments made over the proposals for the site which is mainly brownfield, but a corner of which is designated as green belt.
One respondent to the plans describes the plans as ‘monstrous’, while another says: “The 60 plus houses, possibly 180 occupants, when added to the proposed developments at the old Saddleworth School and those next to the new secondary school currently in Diggle, will increase the already stretched and oversubscribed primary schools and doctor’s capacity.
“The area is becoming overdeveloped too quickly without services being increased to meet new demand.”
However another person states: “We have waited a very long time for this ugly site to be put to productive use. We fully support this application. In our opinion it makes very good use of the land and provides more housing in Saddleworth that is urgently needed.”
A decision on the application is expected by mid-May.