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Manchester Mill plans for retirement flats set for go ahead

Posted on - 29th March, 2015 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Housing, News, St Matthews
How the extra care flats will look on land off Geoffrey Street

How the extra care flats will look on land off Geoffrey Street

What was Manchester Mill is set to be turned into retirement flats.

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The £7 million scheme has been tabled by Mulbury Homes who want to build 70 extra care apartments in the St Matthews area.

Work on the Manchester Mill site is the second stage in bringing back into use a large area of former Mill land, with plans for 51 new homes at the India Mill site already approved and building work started in summer of last year.

Preston City Council planning officers have recommended the Manchester Mill scheme for approval.

Manchester Mill (Smiths, British Velvet & Plush Company), Mosley Street, Preston 1985

Manchester Mill (Smiths, British Velvet & Plush Company), Mosley Street, Preston 1985. Pic: Beth Heyes, Preston Historical Society

A potted history of Manchester Mill

Manchester Mill was constructed in 1864 as a purpose-built integrated spinning and weaving mill and was considered to be important among a group of mills at that time. The mill was probably one of the first to have a horizontal steam engine installed as its main source of power. It is also firmly believed that it was the first mill in Preston to have a circular chimney as opposed to the usual rectangular type. Originally, the mill was constructed as a three storey building comprising, an eighteen bay spinning block with weaving sheds to the north and east, and a two storey engine house to the west. In 1921 a new and more powerful steam engine was to replace the former one, this probably being the last mill steam engine to be installed in a Preston mill.

As the cotton industry declined in Preston the mill had been used for many different purposes and much of the internal structure was remodeled to suit each particular purpose. The mill was however, in continued use by Smiths, British Velvet & Plush Company, mainly producing velvet materials.

Side view of Manchester Mill. Pic: Karen Doyle, Preston Historical Society

Side view of Manchester Mill. Pic: Karen Doyle, Preston Historical Society

Former weaving shed. Pic: Karen Doyle, Preston Historical Society

Former weaving shed. Pic: Karen Doyle, Preston Historical Society

Former engine room with year marked of installation of new steam engine. Pic: Karen Doyle, Preston Historical Society

Former engine room with year marked of installation of new steam engine. Pic: Karen Doyle, Preston Historical Society

Mill reservoir or lodge. Pic: Karen Doyle, Preston Historical Society

Mill reservoir or lodge. Pic: Karen Doyle, Preston Historical Society

The apartments are due to include a cafe, dining room, assisted bathroom and laundry room.

Claire Morris, head of care at Mulbury Homes, said: “This is an exciting scheme that will provide modern, energy-efficient homes in an area where there is high demand for this type of housing. It will also support the wider regeneration of this part of Preston where we are already building new affordable homes.”

Overhead view of the flats

Overhead view of the flats

Planning officers said in their recommendation: “The proposed development would be beneficial by providing affordable homes suitable for elderly people and others needing some degree of care.

“It would lead to the re-use of a brownfield site and subjection to conditions to improve accessibility for pedestrians, would be a sustainable location for new residential development.

“The proposal would lead to the loss of an historic mill but its value in heritage terms if not so significant as to warrants its preservation.”

Inside the care flats showing the courtyard area

Inside the care flats showing the courtyard area

The full planning report can be found on the city council website.

What do you think of the plans? Do you have any memories of Manchester Mill? Let us know in the comments below

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