On Air Now Rob Charles 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Now Playing Ketty Lester Love Letters

Plans confirmed for historic mill to be partially demolished to make way for 60 homes

An historic mill in Delph will be partially demolished as plans go ahead for 60 new homes. The proposal for Bailey Mill on Delph New Road was delayed after it had to be referred to the secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Committees but has now received the greenlight. 

The Grade II listed mill is in a ‘derelict’ state and has already been partly demolished for safety reasons after it was ravaged by a fire in 2016 in a suspected case of arson.

Plans submitted by Gledhill’s & Sons Ltd will see much of the remaining structure flattened. But its ‘iconic’ chimney will be retained and two of the original buildings will be restored and converted into apartments. 

The remaining brownfield site will be transformed into terraced family homes with one, two, three or four bedrooms. 

A planning statement said Gledhill’s sought to “redevelop the site following the extensive fire damage in 2016 as a sustainably located residential development.”

It said: “Following the fire, the options for redevelopment were undertaken and residential conversion was the only realistic and viable option.

“This planning application comes forward following positive informal pre-application discussions with the Council. These discussions established that the priority for the site was the restoration of the listed buildings’ which are in a state of disrepair and to secure a long-term viable use. 

“To enable the restoration, the Council have accepted that some selected demolitions of existing structures is likely given their condition and that new housing can be provided onsite.” 

Despite the council’s encouragement, the planning process has been fraught with objections and several amended plans in response to criticism from local residents and historic organisations.

The process has resulted in the removal of a block that was due to be built on green belt land to the north of the mill and the retention of the original chimney, which was originally due to be destroyed. 

In 13 letters of objection and two neutral statements, the public raised concerns about the overburdening of local services like schools and GP offices due to the sheer size of the proposal, parking issues and the area’s history.  

The mill was first established by two brothers, David and Henry Mallalieu, in 1863, who initiated a 130-year wool weaver’s legacy. The mill saw through the weavers’ strikes in the 1890s and was involved in the WW1 effort, creating material for soldiers’ uniforms, according to a local history site. 

The business eventually went under and the mill was sold to the Gledhill family in 1995. 

One comment criticised Gledhill’s for attempting to “alter the historic outlook of the area”. 

A ‘neutral’ comment from Association for Industrial Archaeology argued “the amount of demolition of both the fire damaged buildings and the other buildings does seem rather excessive. The photographs in the Heritage Statement certainly show the derelict nature of some of the buildings but there are remains which could usefully be reused. 

“In particular, is it necessary to remove the brick upper part of the chimney?”

Concerns were also raised by Historic England, meaning the proposal had to be referred to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Committees in January. The secretary of state, Michael Gove, had to decide within 28 days whether or not to ‘call in’ the decision, meaning the government would effectively make the decision for the local council.  

But a representative for Gove confirmed that the decision would remain with the Oldham Borough Council, who approved the amended version of the plans. 

The spokesperson wrote: “The Government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues and believes planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible.

“The Secretary of State has decided not to call in this application. He is content that it should be determined by the local planning authority.” 

The project is now due to go ahead and must begin within the next three years. 

More from Oldham Reporter

Weather

  • Sun

    7°C

  • Mon

    9°C

  • Tue

    9°C

  • Wed

    10°C

  • Thu

    11°C