Shop inside Salts Mill, Saltaire, West Yorkshire
Salts Mill, Saltaire, West Yorkshire now houses popular exhibitions, shops and diner. Many works by artist David Hockney are displayed in the mill © Historic England DP174178
Salts Mill, Saltaire, West Yorkshire now houses popular exhibitions, shops and diner. Many works by artist David Hockney are displayed in the mill © Historic England DP174178

Why Re-Use Mills?

Houses, offices, shops, restaurants, art galleries and even an NHS outpatients’ department are among many imaginative new uses for mills. Find out more about why they should be re-used.

Meeting public demand

We know that people care about mills. A YouGov poll conducted in October 2017 tells us that 89% of adults believe mills are an important part of England’s heritage, story and character. 85% do not want to see historic mills demolished and replaced, while 70% say they should be considered for new housing, offices and public amenities before new buildings are constructed. This number rises to almost 80% among people from the north of England.

Accommodating growth

Mills can be powerhouses for growth in the 21st century. The vacant space they contain could accommodate around 52,000 new homes, or host 280,000 new jobs.

At a time when local authorities are struggling to find land to accommodate economic and housing growth, mills provide a ready-made solution.

Mills can accommodate new and exciting uses, attract investment in area-wide regeneration, create jobs and host the homes and businesses of the future. They can play a positive role in place-making, allowing local character to shine through in new developments. Mills provide inspiring places for people to live, work and relax.

Branding the north

Textile mills symbolise the north’s industrial heritage and can drive its future. Repurposed mills offer distinctive and quirky accommodation proven to appeal to occupiers and investors, especially within creative and digital industries. Mills can contribute to how the north is marketed nationally and internationally to prospective investors.

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