Bid to cut mill land­mark down to size faces axe

Rochdale Observer - - NEWS - Da­mon.wilkin­son@men­media.co.uk @Da­monWilkin­son6

ADEVELOPER’S bid to more than halve the height of a land­mark 19th Cen­tury mill chim­ney looks set to be re­jected.

The 130ft tall Dex­ine mill chim­ney has tow­ered over the Spot­land Bridge area since the 1870s.

But Hall­mark Devel­op­ments, which is plan­ning to con­vert the old mill into 22 flats and also build 80 new houses on the site, wants to re­duce its height to just 50ft due to ‘struc­tural is­sues’

The com­pany has ap­plied for plan­ning per­mis­sion to de­mol­ish a large part of the chim­ney, which is not listed, but is in a con­ser­va­tion area and ‘make good’ the re­main­der.

Hall­mark say that re­pair­ing the chim­ney would be ‘un­eco­nomic’ be­cause it has ‘no vi­able use’.

In its ap­pli­ca­tion the de­vel­oper also said the chim­ney, and associated mill build­ings, also ‘pose a risk to life’ and said the site was an ar­son risk de­spite se­cu­rity mea­sures which have been put in place.

But plan­ning of­fi­cers have rec­om­mended the ap­pli­ca­tion is re­jected be­cause the work would strip the chim­ney of its ‘land­mark’ sta­tus.

A re­port set to go be­fore coun­cil­lors next week states: “It is with­out doubt that the chim­ney is a land­mark fea­ture and is sig­nif­i­cant as a rem­nant of the cot­ton in­dus­try which once dom­i­nated Spot­land.

“More­over, the cen­tury old chim­ney con­trib­utes con­sid­er­ably to the feel of the lo­cal­ity and it helps to form its char­ac­ter.

“It is a fea­ture of high sig­nif­i­cance which helps to de­fine the lo­cal char­ac­ter and it con­trib­utes sig­nif­i­cantly to the char­ac­ter and ap­pear­ance of the con­ser­va­tion area.

“As a re­sult of the pro­posed re­duc­tion in height of the chim­ney to 15m, its promi­nence within the con­ser­va­tion area would be greatly re­duced and it would no longer be a land­mark fea­ture.”

The plan­ning and Li­cens­ing Com­mit­tee meet at 6.15pm on Mon­day at Num­ber One River­side.

●●Taniya Kabir picks up her prize from the Wheat­sheaf Shop­ping Cen­tre in Rochdale af­ter win­ning a £250 toy voucher in their Sum­mer Read­ing Chal­lenge colouring com­pe­ti­tion.

●●The Dex­ine mill chim­ney

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