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Historic mill’s past is now the future

Taken from http://www.wigantoday.net PLANS for a spectacular multi-million pound renovation of one of Leigh’s most historic industrial buildings have been announced. Leigh Spinners Mill could be restored and transformed into a major enterprise and community centre including sports facilities, conference rooms and a cafe under new proposals. The development, proposed by new charity the Leigh Building Preservation Trust, will use Heritage Lottery Fund cash to refurbish the Grade II listed early 20th century double mill in a scheme likely to cost around £4m. The existing Leigh Spinners Company working in the historic Park Lane building will remain in the mill, while large amounts of vacant space will be brought back into use. The announcement also coincides with the centenary of the first mill’s construction. Scheme co-ordinator Peter Rowlinson said: “This is one of the most important buildings of its type and is unique. “It is an important part of the heritage of Leigh and it will be wonderful to see it developed into an enterprise centre and to see it creating jobs and facilities for the people of Leigh. “It’s a massive venture and it’s not going to happen overnight but we’ve made a good start and have a strong board to push this through.” The plans include reinstating the mill’s engine, one of the largest in the UK, and build a new car park and entrance at the rear of the current building which will be accessed via Manchester Road and Hall House Lane. Other proposals include turning a warehouse into an indoor sports facility with artificial turf to house a five-a-side football pitch or bowling green and installing a gallery to house works by local artists. The project has attracted an impressive group of trustees including chairman Trevor Barton MBE, Leigh MP Andy Burnham and Peter Horrocks, the joint managing director of Leigh Spinners Mill, whose grandfather was the original founder. Mr Barton said: “Leigh has a fantastic heritage and this is a marvellous piece of our history which we want to preserve for future generations. “There’s nothing like this mill anywhere else in the country and it’s a lovely project to be involved with. “This is another exciting development in Leigh and we are cautiously optimistic about delivering something very special.” The team behind the proposals is organising a consultation to engage residents with the project and hopes to establish a friends group of supporters as well as finding people willing to help restore the engine and find out more about the mill’s history. The Leigh Spinners Mill was built in 1913 to serve the textile industry, with the matching second building added 10 years later. “It is currently the home of the Leigh Spinners Company which makes products including carpets and artificial grass surfaces.” For more about the project email Peter Rowlinson at Rowlinson.p@sky.com