Waterside Mill: March Update

Valley Heritage are delighted to hear Rossendale Borough Council’s recent announcement on Waterside Mill.

Valley Heritage have been working in partnership with Rossendale Borough Council to save the building since 2015 and have received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund to support feasibility work. This resulted in an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £3.5 million in early 2017, which would have seen the building returned to industrial use. Unfortunately this application failed, but we were determined that this not be the end for Waterside Mill.

More recently, Valley Heritage have worked with Historic England to ensure that the building was included in their ‘Engines of Prosperity’ publication, which has served to raise awareness of the plight of Waterside Mill and the potential of industrial heritage more generally. Valley Heritage negotiated £15,000 of support from Historic England, which has been used to re-assess the condition of the building and extend feasibility work to look at a mixed use development in more detail. As the building is currently unsafe to enter, checking on condition has included the use of innovative drone technology capable of safely exploring the interior of the mill, delivered by Christians Ltd. This work is suggesting that there is a viable scheme involving residential and some commercial use, which has given the Council confidence to take forward compulsory purchase.

Valley Heritage Chairperson, Stephen Anderson, Said:

‘Our work in partnership with Rossendale Borough Council is now offering hope that we can save this important historic building. It once provided many jobs for local people and we are hopeful that it can again provide jobs, but also much needed quality homes, for Bacup Town Centre. However, we have to remain realistic, there are many challenges to overcome and no easy fixes. We will continue to work closely with the Council to bring resolution to Waterside Mill as quickly as we can. We are grateful for the efforts of our volunteers and must also thanks Historic England for their financial assistance, as well as their ongoing officer support, all of which has been invaluable. The consultant team including Buttress Architects, Michael Pooler Associates, Appleyard & Trew and Christians have all gone above and beyond to support the project and our thanks goes to them also.’

Next steps include refining the feasibility study and if necessary, seeking further funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources. Any comments or queries should be directed to info@valleyheritage.org.uk

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