An outstanding group of buildings in Shropshire recently won development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the regeneration of a former flax mill and maltings. FCB (Feilden Clegg Bradley) Studios have been acting as strategic advisors and architects to English Heritage and Shropshire Council since 2003 and have advised them through all stages of the project to date. In November 2010, they gained full planning and listed building consent for a £20m phase of works which includes a heritage-led mixed-use development with the potential to create 120 new homes on the site. The total development value is estimated at £52m. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The aim of the project is to work with the local community and others to develop a vibrant centre for learning, working, social enterprise and leisure. A full HLF grant would allow the main historic buildings on site to be repaired and brought back into use -including the Main Mill, the Kiln, the Dye and Stove House and the Office and Stables. Proposals by FCBStudios are designed to provide an exemplar of how modern technology and innovation can be applied to heritage buildings, complementing their historic technology and preserving their special character.
Geoff Rich, lead architect from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, said “The challenge of bringing Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings into the twenty first century is both exciting and demanding. The pioneering technology within historic iron framed buildings presents unique challenges in conservation, repair and re-use. However we’re convinced that these amazing historic buildings can be the centrepiece of a truly inspirational new place which will boost the regional economy and make a real difference to the lives of local people .”
Built on the northern edge of Shrewsbury, the Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings site includes many buildings of historic interest, including the internationally-important Main Mill. Built in 1797 this is the oldest surviving cast-iron framed building in the world and is the forerunner of the modern skyscraper. Until this time factories and mills were frequently destroyed by fire so the development of cast iron frames was a huge factor in putting Britain way ahead in the Industrial Revolution.
The HLF has now awarded Shropshire Council a ‘first round pass’ which provides funding of £465,300. This grant is to be used to develop more detailed business plans for the regeneration of the Flax Mill Maltings which includes 8 Listed Buildings, 4 at Grade I. A second round bid will be submitted by the council to HLF within the next 18 months in the hope of securing a major grant of £11,686,000 which would enable the conservation and redevelopment of Shrewsbury’s unique and historic mill complex.