Reporter, Thursday, 22nd May, 2003
"Eyesore" factory set for exciting revamp
Ambitious plans to turn one of Preston’s most famous factories into flats have been unveiled. The Grade II listed Horockses Centenary Mill on New Hall Lane, Preston, could be turned into 144 flats, with additional blocks built nearby.

For many years, the mill, which once housed a booming cotton and fashion industry, has been described as an “eyesore”.

Now a series of exciting proposals have been handed to Preston Council.

North East firms the Mandale Group and SJD Architects want to convert the five storey mill and build a basement car park, demolish outbuildings and build four, three storey blocks of six flats with a car park.

The Grade II listed Horrockses Mill in Preston

The mill has stood largely empty since the late mid-1980s, apart from a section being used by a denim manufacturer. If given the go ahead, they hope the scheme will help Preston to emulate the success of cities such as Manchester and Leeds, which have seen the upmarket flats turn run-down areas into desirable places to live.

Carl Speight, chief executive of the Preston City management company said: ”It’s a key gateway site and we’re trying to deliver attractive gateways into the city centre area. First impressions count for a lot.

“In the City Centre Strategy which we are currently leading on the development of, we have identified the area around Horockses mill as a really important opportunity for establishing a high quality gateway to the city centre area.

“We’re very keen to encourage the growth of the residential community in the city centre area.

“The city centre doesn’t stand in isolation – it needs to be part of delivering the improvements we want to make, and it probably lends itself in terms of the style of the building. There may be some care that needs to be taken in terms of the conversion itself.

“Having a population in close proximity to the city centre helps with the feeling of safety and security”.

Brian Jackson from the planning department at Preston Council, said it would be some time, possibly July, before the matter was taken to committee for consideration.

A copy of the plans may be inspected during normal office hours at the Planning Department, Lancastria House, Lancaster Road, Preston.

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© Reporter, May 2002