New planning application is early ‘first step’ for Imperial Mill restoration

Published Monday 18 March 2024 at 11:45

Blackburn with Darwen Council has submitted a planning application for the iconic Imperial Mill.

The Council bought the landmark building from Lancashire Saw Company Limited last year in an important step to help safeguard it for future employment and cultural opportunities.

While it’ll take some time to bring forward detailed plans for the historic mill, this planning application is described as a ‘first step’ in a detailed programme of regeneration works that will help restore it over time.

And it comes just weeks after it was announced that Imperial Mill is set to benefit from a share of £20m of new Levelling Up Partnership funding secured by Blackburn with Darwen Council, with the likes of King George’s Hall, the Cotton Exchange and Tony’s Ballroom also in-line for new investment too.

Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

This is a landmark building – an impressive and characterful former cotton spinning mill built at the turn of the 20th Century when cotton was king.

As a Council, it’s important that we do all we can to safeguard buildings like these and use them to help create jobs for the future while also looking at improving our place and looking to make the most of cultural and environmental opportunities too.

While it’s very, very early days for our plans for Imperial Mill, this new planning application is important to help make the building safe and do all we can to help protect it.

We know it’ll be a huge undertaking to bring it back to its best and make it fit for future use, but we’ve already successfully secured funding through the Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) and more recently through our Levelling Up Partnership with them too.

Imperial Mill 1970s

The imposing mill, in Gorse Street, was designed by architect Sydney Stott and cost in the region of £120,000 (more than £12m in today’s money) to build in 1901.

The building can be seen from Carl Fogarty Way – part of a key ‘growth corridor’ for the Council and its £1bn vision for the future.

And Blackburn-based arts programme, Super Slow Way has already identified the mill as one of four potential ‘cultural hubs’ along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal as part of its impressive Linear Park proposals.

In the meantime, Lancashire Saw Company Ltd, retained a 15-year lease as part of the sale and continue to operate from the building.

The application is seeking permission to demolish elements of the mill that are deemed structurally unsafe including the boiler house, engine room extension, masonry annex and steel structure.

These are not part of the impressive original structure of the listed building.

You can view the planning application in full by clicking here.

Imperial Mill – Super Slow Way vision

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