Derelict Darwen mill to be converted into homes

Hoddlesden Mill near Darwen, which closed nearly 20 years ago, has been acquired by Kingswood Homes and is to be converted into a residential development.

The property on Johnson New Road stands within 7.2 acres, but hasn't been operational since 2003 and suffered a fire in 2008.

It has outline planning consent for 79 homes, and Preston-based Kingswood is now drawing up a reserved matters application, which is due to be submitted in early 2022. Subject to planning, work could start later in 2022.

Paul Jones, managing director of Kingswood Homes, said: "The mill had been identified as a potential site for housing but stalled for various reasons. This autumn we’d agreed to buy the site and committed a large amount of resources and effort to the deal, agreeing exchange and completion dates based on our funding facility.

"Then eight weeks after the deal was originally agreed we were gazumped by a PLC national housebuilder who offered the landowner better payment terms than we could.

"This is a continual problem we face and so I called the agent to see if there was anything we could do. We bounced some ideas around and reached a compromise and exchanged contracts the following day. SMEs might be smaller, we might not have the deep pockets of the PLCs but we can be quicker and more nimble and more determined. We’re now looking forward to bringing our own plans forward to bring this derelict brownfield site back into good use by developing the land to provide aspirational new homes.”

All of the properties at the development will be available to purchase on the open market. Due to the viability challenges associated with the site Kingswood won’t be required to make community investments in the form of section 106 contributions.

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