Historic England publishes new guide for the conversion of the historic textile mills in West Yorkshire to provide a secure and sustainable future for these underused buildings.
Being an important symbol of the County’s industrial heritage the retention of the mills is a critical consideration for regeneration. It is known that regeneration of these types of buildings will often provide the catalyst for the revitalisation of surrounding areas and provide focal points for local communities. A converted textile mill provides many positive outcomes including new jobs, new accommodation and investment whilst retaining an asset which was constructed to last.
The study which was completed by Historic England in conjunction with Cushman & Wakefield and Latham Architects to review the best practices in the regeneration of the West Yorkshire Mills and the precedents set by successfully completed projects.
Positive emerging trends are identified which are creating renewed impetus for conversion including:
Market improvement across the residential and commercial sectors, which is generating increased occupier and purchaser demand for all asset classes including heritage assets;
Growing developer and investor appetite;
The devolution agenda which is encouraging local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to invest in regeneration and growth projects and to implement innovative measures (such as simplified planning, direct delivery and intervention) to unlock the delivery of difficult sites and buildings.
The scale of this project is vast with over 1,500 textile mills still remaining in the West Riding area of Yorkshire with only about 150 already successfully converted leaving the remaining 1,350 underused and vacant. An opportunity exists within these redundant buildings for the generation of over 150,000 jobs and creation of approximately 27,000 new homes. Given the shortage of both jobs and accommodation within the area why are these buildings being left to dereliction and the ever present threat of destruction by fire.
The full report is available here