Phoenix Mill: City’s oldest riverside textile mill to undergo major regeneration

Plans to redevelop a former mill into one of the largest creative spaces outside London have been approved.

Wakefield Council has given the go-ahead to the transformation of Phoenix Mill.

The mill, beside the River Calder, is the oldest building at the city’s Rutland Mills complex.

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The work forms part of phase two of the multi-million pound Tileyard North project.

Left to right: Tom Frater, regional director at Historic England, Louisa Brooks, City and Provincial Properties, Michael Graham, Wakefield Council cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, and Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s chief executLeft to right: Tom Frater, regional director at Historic England, Louisa Brooks, City and Provincial Properties, Michael Graham, Wakefield Council cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, and Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s chief execut
Left to right: Tom Frater, regional director at Historic England, Louisa Brooks, City and Provincial Properties, Michael Graham, Wakefield Council cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, and Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s chief execut

The waterside area is being transformed into a creative industries hub housing state-of-art recording studios, creative workspaces and events venues.

Planning officers have approved the application to carry out extensive work to the Grade II-listed listed building, which dates to around 1800.

A report says: “The new use is a viable option that will ensure that the building is kept in use.

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“It is considered that the public benefit of bringing this building into a new viable use outweighs the harm identified to the loss of some internal and external historic fabric and significance of the heritage asset.

“The submitted scheme has sufficiently demonstrated that the works can be implemented without resulting in significant harm to the listed building.

Permission has also been granted for the building to house a microbrewery, art gallery and exhibition space.

Historic England awarded a £625,000 grant to the project to fund repairs to the building’s roof, drainage and walls, as well as new windows.

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The overall Tileyard North project is being funded from the government’s Levelling Up programme (LUF).

Wakefield Council and City and Provincial Properties are also providing funding.

Phoenix Mill was originally a grain store before becoming a corn mill and textile mill later in the nineteenth century.

A heritage report says: “Phoenix Mill has historic interest as the oldest part of the listed complex at the Tileyard North site.

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“It was constructed in circa 1800 and is therefore of historic interest for its age and as an early industrial structure.”

The scheme has also been welcomed by Wakefield Civic Society and the Association for Industrial Archaeology.

Commenting on the project in March, Michael Graham, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth , said: “The plans are a key part of our ambitious multi-million-pound regeneration of the historic waterfront.

“We’re investing alongside Historic England and City and Provincial Properties so that the former mill buildings can be transformed into vibrant spaces for creativity.

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“They will provide world class facilities to artists and creatives based right across the north of England.”

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s chief executive, said: “After lying derelict for many years, it’s wonderful to see that Phoenix Mill is now rising from the ashes and will soon be given new life as an integral part of the fantastic Tileyard North.”

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