The team planning a spectacular renovation of a landmark Leigh industrial building is celebrating after securing a crucial lease.
The Leigh Building Preservation Trust (LBPT) has confirmed it has secured a 99-year-deal on half of Leigh Spinners Mill.
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The six-storey Mill Two building is now in the hands of LBPT’s team, paving the way for a number of ambitious mooted proposals to redevelop it.
Two floors will be leased back to the Leigh Spinners Company, which will expand its operations producing carpeting and artificial turf.
The other four floors will be put to a wide variety of uses, with plans for a sports floor containing facilities for pastimes including table tennis and indoor bowling and another storeys devoted to new bases for arts organisations and small businesses.
The news of the lease comes hot on the heels of LBPT securing its first national award in London and means urgent repair works are now already under way, with more scheduled in the next few weeks.
LBPT chairman Peter Rowlinson said: “We are absolutely delighted to have reached a major milestone in the development of our project and to move beyond our heritage facilities to have space to deliver jobs and community facilities for the people of Leigh.
"We have now become one of the largest community heritage projects in the UK and have now secured national recognition for our project.
“I hope the people of Leigh are proud at this national recognition and we intend to make more positive announcements in the near future about other developments within the mill.”
The mill’s lift is currently being refurbished to ensure that all levels of the building can be reached and the facility is also disability-friendly.
Repairs to the roof, for which funding has been secured from Wigan Council and Historic England, are also expected to begin this month after the tenders came in at the start of the week.
Mill Two, which comprises one half of the historic complex, has a floorspace of 191,600 sq ft, with four floors currently vacant and intending to be brought back into use.
The colossal effort to raise money for the project was recently hailed at a national conference in London.
Announcing the £312,000 of funding for the roof and the LBPT proposals last year, Mr Rowlinson said he hoped the organisation could lure Manchester-based firms to Leigh who needed large amounts of space for their work but were struggling with sky-high city centre rents.
He suggested the renovation if successful could make Leigh something of a regional creative hub, citing fashion designers, sculptors and artists as people who might be interested in the mill.
The LBPT also has plans for Mill One which is currently used for storage, but this needs a much higher level of work doing.