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Consumed
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Shouting 'Save the mills' is as broad as the usual counter argument of 'this isn't a museum'.

It seems that campaigners are silent on most of these buildings for decades whilst they sit decaying and under-utilised but as soon as someone comes along and actually wants to do something with the space (which often involves demo because no one gave a flying f*ck as it fell into a state of disrepair) there's uproar!

I'd like to see mills retained where possible too. But I want them to be in good condition and making an active contribution to the sense of place and economy.
 

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Perhaps if a similar incentive to the ones used which allow easier planning permission when changing office to residential purposes were used for converting mills to residential then we could save some more? But like we all know, some of the mills are in a bad state and would cost millions to convert. Perhaps a similar housing initiative could be launched by the government to do this so they kill two birds with one stone: more houses and saving historic buildings. Win win. Just political will and funding holding such a scheme back.
 

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Yes, the cost of maintaining the heritage aspect usually outweighs the potential profit to be gained from converting to flats or retail space.
 

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Remember that 'warehouse living' and 'trendy warehouse chic offices' have only really been popular since the early to mid 90's. And considering that we still have derelict and empty mills lying about in 2017 it is a sensible assumption that not all of them could have converted to new uses viably.
 

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Shouting 'Save the mills' is as broad as the usual counter argument of 'this isn't a museum'.

It seems that campaigners are silent on most of these buildings for decades whilst they sit decaying and under-utilised but as soon as someone comes along and actually wants to do something with the space (which often involves demo because no one gave a flying f*ck as it fell into a state of disrepair) there's uproar!

I'd like to see mills retained where possible too. But I want them to be in good condition and making an active contribution to the sense of place and economy.
Two things:

1) My experience has been that local people are very concerned over empty buildings, especially significant ones such as mills. Their silence is mostly a sign of either their inability to do anything or the need to actively campaign elsewhere because other buildings are threatened.

2) The people letting a building fall into disrepair are not (definitively not) the same as the ones who want a building saved. Local people, given the choice and the ability, would have sought a use for such buildings.

It's more often the case that local people witness the decline of an empty building over many years, discussing its state and making suggestions to one another about potential uses. However, because the building is not locally owned this concern or desire can never be transformed into action. Only when a building is ultimately threatened with demolition are local people jerked into a last ditch action of 'do something' because they realize it's nearly too late.

Think of how London Road Fire Station was abused by its owners and how long it took to be sorted. And yet London Road Fire Station is a beautiful building in the middle of Manchester. A mill in Chadderton has ten times the fight.
 

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When most of us think of mills, I'm sure we all think of the huge fancy brick buildings, several floors high, a big chimney, cast iron internal columns and huge windows?

How many of those '500 mills' were barely more than two storey, quite small and plain (zero skill or ornamentation), probably with a corrugated steel roof and in places, walls, built as cheaply as we build todays tin sheds, where the builders would be amazed if they were still standing 100/200 years later?

The idea that somehow all old buildings are excellent bits of architecture and need saving is sometimes a fantasy.
 
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