Plans to bulldoze historic ‘eyesore’ for homes land

Wesley Street Mill, Bamber Bridge
Wesley Street Mill, Bamber Bridge

A historic former mill is set to be bulldozed to make way for new homes as part of a £35m redevelopment.

South Ribble Council has advertised for a partner to transform the site at Wesley Street Mill in Bamber Bridge into a “high-quality residential development”.

It has already received interest from a number of property developers and house-builders in the proposal.

Cliff Hughes, cabinet member for strategic planning and housing on the council, said it would be willing to make a compulsory purchase order to buy the site if it cannot reach agreement with the site’s owners.

He said: “The council has always had a commitment to doing something with the mill whether that is the owner which acts or whether we do something.

“If we have to do a compulsory purchase order to take control, we need to make sure we have a partner with the wherewithal to take on the job.

“That is why we have put this contract out to tender.”

The advertisement is seeking a partner to bring forward the “comprehensive redevelopment” of the site and would see it work with the council to buy up the land around the mill, demolish existing buildings and clear and prepare the site.

It has set out a vision for the residential scheme on a 12-acre site including affordable homes and public parks, which it predicts will take up to five years to complete.

The tender document adds: “The bidder must be able to finance the whole development as required by the council.”

Coun Hughes said the demolition of the former cotton mill was “almost inevitable” to make way for the work.

The building has stood derelict for many years having previously housed the Bamber Bridge Spinning Company.

Coun Hughes said: “If someone can come to us and say they have a few million pounds and a scheme which can pay for itself – and has all the residents are on board – which will retain the mill building, we will listen to that, of course.

“It has been such a problem for such a long time, we cannot afford to do nothing.”

Last month, the council completed a deal to buy the former Mackenzie Arms site, off Station Road, to open the way for the development.