Houses for historic factory site

Withnell Fold Mill
Withnell Fold Mill

Plans to demolish part of a historic mill in a Chorley village have been rubber-stamped.

Primrose Holdings Ltd want to refurbish and restore the old chimney and buildings to create offices at Withnell Fold Mill.

Also mentioned in the application was the demolition of the rest of the premises and putting up 37 houses on the site.

There were mixed views about the scheme with 37 letters being sent by local neighbours to Chorley Council.

Among those - there were 10 outright objections with 16 being supportive of some redevelopment on the site but they were concerned about the increased traffic to the area.

Meanwhile, Withnell Fold Parish Council suggested that a number of ‘conditions be applied should permission be granted regarding the provision of a play area, retention of the Green corridor and enhancement of the canal footpath.

There were also some objections by English Heritage.

They said: “The demolition of all mill buildings except the chimney and the redevelopment proposals for the site.

“Insufficient evidence was support a case for demolition and that consequently the case was not made.”

Also there were fears raised by British Waterways that the demolition could cause damage to the nearby historic canal.

They also wanted a landscaping condition be appliced to keep some important trees on the site.

Meanwhile, the report argues that despite it being an employment site that this would not be an ‘economic or sustainable use of the site and that the marketing evidenced provided supports the proposal of reuse for residential purposes.’

However, the applicant has owned the site for the past 20 years while the income generated by tenants is ‘very low’.

‘The applicant has made a number of alternative uses for the buildings, none of which proving to be successful.

“The site is a blight on the appearance of the Withnell Fold Conservation Area and the proposed development provides an opportunity to not only reverse that situation but to enhance the area with new buildingsthat are sympathetic to their location and that are of such a quality as to enhance the setting of the conservation area.”