The Government has confirmed that Oldham’s listed Hartford Mill can be demolished, after years of the council pushing for the redevelopment of what has been called an “eyesore” and “blighted site”.
The mill has been vacant since 1991, and is owned by a private individual, Barry Parker, who has been working with the council on potential uses for the derelict buildings.
The council previously secured an option to acquire Hartford Mill in 2004 through Housing Market Renewal funding, however when this ceased the council no longer had the resources to purchase the site. It then looked at transferring ownership of neighbouring plots to the mill owner, in order to make the scheme more attractive and viable for investors.
Built in 1907, Hartford Mill ceased cotton spinning in the 1950s and was then later used by Littlewoods for mail ordering until 1991. Vacant since then, the structure has deteriorated over time and has attracted intruders, vandalism, anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.
Last October, Oldham Council submitted a Listed Building Consent application seeking the total demolition of all structures within Hartford Mill and for the cleared site to be left fenced and secure.
The decision was referred to the Secretary of State as it involved the complete demolition of a listed building, and the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government has now confirmed that the owner can now knock the structures down.
There are hopes that the cleared site can be used for a housing and wider regeneration project.
Cllr Sean Fielding, Oldham Council Leader, said: “This is great news as the demolition of the mill is long overdue. I’m pretty sure the vast majority of residents would agree as it’s been a blot on the landscape for years.
“The building had become dangerous and was a drain on resources, not just for the council but also others, such as the emergency services which were constantly being called out.
“This is also a brownfield site and now we can start looking forward to its future and development – improving things for existing residents and those who will be moving into the area once quality new homes are built.”