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Firm defends mill conversion plan in face of strong opposition

Firm defends mill conversion plan in face of strong opposition

DEVELOPERS behind a controversial scheme to convert an historic mill in the district into luxury apartments have spoken of their plans.

A small business centre currently occupies Baildon Mills. Re-submitted proposals for the site in Northgate, Baildon, sparked a flood of objections from many of some 60 on-site businesses and also residents worried about increased traffic and a loss of trade for local shops.

KMRE Group, working with mill owners John Peel and Son, want to transform it into 42 residential units made up of nine one-bed flats, 27 two-bed flats and six three-bed flats.

Kam Mogul, managing director of KMRE said in their view, such town centre development would greatly benefit the local long-term economy of shops and businesses, especially being in walking distance of these amenities.

“Having people living there will actually create less traffic and those living there will use their spending power in the locality,” he said.

Mr Mogul said the building was half empty, with the existing businesses enjoying the flexibility of six month rental contracts without making long-term commitment to the town.

He said the properties would be “high level conversions with unique value on and will more appeal to younger people or downsizers already living in Baildon, so not putting more pressure onto the local schools or services.”

He added; “We are going to bring this building into full use, which will be a massive improvement and we are not coming in and bulldozing. For example, the mill pond will be enhanced to protect its long-term survival. Presently, the mill pond has been totally neglected and is deteriorating rapidly.”

He said there would be upcoming evening consultation events open to the public

Ward Councillor Mike Pollard, (Con, Baildon)said that while personally opposed to the scheme, planners might find it difficult to refuse.

“I frown on it, but on what planning grounds can they resist?

“If all business occupants are on short-term leases and the owner decides to give them all notice, then it would soon become an empty building.

“Baildon must build 350 new homes by 2030 and currently looks to be 50 short, which might mean nibbling at the greenbelt.

“That makes Baildon Mills very relevant, but I still consider it to be a bad idea and to the detriment of the area.”

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