Bowden Hey Mill

Project: Bowden Hey Mill

Sector: Residential

Location: Chapel en le Frith, Derbyshire

Project Value: N/A

Project Profile – The property comprises a group of mill buildings of some historic significance accommodating 1,100 sqm in area and currently in use as offices and storage ancillary to the wider operation of the site for light industrial purposes.  The buildings are not deemed fit for the purposes of our client, both as a consequence of their location (separate from the main site), because of constrained access and servicing arrangements and as a result of their internal layout.  The clients are in the process of consolidating their operations on the remainder of the site through a programme of expansion and re-organisation.  Their investment in the remainder of the site will increase production capacity and employment opportunities. The mill group is therefore surplus to requirements.

The clients originally sought permission for a change in the use of the group to residential (6 units).  The proposal would have seen the buildings subjected to a sensitive round of physical intervention externally and internally in order to adapt them for the residential end use.

The local authority refused the applications (for planning permission and conservation area consent) on the grounds that the loss of the site to a non-employment use was not justified and would be contrary to local plan policy and that the proposals would have a negative impact on the significance of the heritage asset. The clients subsequently appointed Crowley Associates to appeal the local authority’s decision.

Project  Sensitivities— Designated employment site, Conservation Area status, building of Historic Significance (though not listed)

Key Issues – Challenging the assumption that the employment site should be retained in employment use, challenging the local authority’s perception of the status of the building and what defines its importance as a heritage asset.

Crowley Associates have created an appeal project team working closely with the architects Slater Wilde Ltd, appointing Andrew Whitham Ltd to undertake a full historic building appraisal, and; Crossland Otter Hunt in the preparation of a market appraisal (to gauge demand for employment uses locally).  Crowley Associates has been responsible for instructing the remit of the subsidiary reports, reviewing their content, reviewing the local authority’s decision (testing its soundness against established and newly adopted policy) and using the breadth of evidence to hand, to build the grounds of appeal.

Our appeal was allowed on 4th January 2013. We are currently working with the owner to release the site for development.