Shrewsbury Flaxmill: Regeneration will go ahead as project lands extra £7.9 million

The regeneration of Shrewsbury’s Flaxmill will go ahead after the project today received an extra £7.9 million in funding.

The Flaxmill. Picture: Lorraine Fletcher
The Flaxmill. Picture: Lorraine Fletcher

Funds have been awarded by The Heritage Lottery Fund on top of a previous grant of £12.1million, which means that work will start this year on the transformation.

The of the historic listed building is considered of global importance because it is considered a revolutionary forerunner to modern skyscrapers,

The project will see the full restoration of the Main Mill and Kiln, listed as items of international architectural importance and currently on English Heritage’s “at risk register”.

A visitor centre will open at the historic Shrewsbury Flaxmill in Ditherington
Shrewsbury Flaxmill in Ditherington

A cafe will be included in the development, along with an “interpretation and learning space” and four floors of commercial space.

Work on the building, which dates back to 1797, is now set to begin in spring.

Confirming the funding Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), said: “Our board of trustees agreed that Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings is an extraordinary part of our industrial heritage which changed the world of construction and design with its revolutionary iron frame. It is the forerunner to modern skyscrapers which define our cityscapes today.

“The site, whilst complex and made up of several highly graded listed buildings, has enormous potential. Increased construction prices and significant technical challenges have escalated costs.

“We believe that with final piece of funding from HLF, Historic England will be able to successfully deliver this important project.”

Chris Smith, planning director with Historic England paid tribute to the efforts of those who have worked to get the project to this point.

He said: “It has taken a long time and enduring support from friends, Shropshire, and all funders, foremost amongst them HLF to get to this great moment. Now Historic England and allies can achieve the repair and viable re-use of one of the world’s most important buildings. The Flaxmill will stand at the heart of a developing site which will bring vitality to the northern part of Shrewsbury. The repaired building and redeveloped site will become another of the many great assets of Shrewsbury and Shropshire.

One of the key groups who have worked to raise funds and increase the profile of the site is The Friends of Flaxmill Maltings, and its chairman Alan Mosley said the organisation was thrilled to reach this point.

He said: “It is tremendous news that the HLF are able to provide the additional finance to restore what is one of the most important set of buildings in Britain. The friends are proud of their role in stimulating awareness, knowledge and involvement in the project and in the success of their opening and operation of the visitor centre.

“Not only will this project restore the heritage site but there will be an enormous regenerative effect on the local and wider area.

“The success is testament to the efforts of some outstanding staff at Historic England, greatly supported by Shropshire Council and ourselves.

“Over recent years it has been hard work for the friends highly committed board and volunteers supported by our excellent part-time co-ordinator. However, it has all been more than worthwhile as our ambitions that ‘the Flaxmill Maltings is brought back to life at the heart of the community’ will now be fully realised.”

  

Shropshire Council has also welcomed the funding award with spokesman Gareth Profitt saying: “Shropshire Council is committed to work in partnership with Historic England and the Friends of Flaxmill Maltings to bring this internationally important industrial heritage site back to life. The restoration of the Main Mill and Kiln is integral to the regeneration of the whole site and we are thankful that HLF has recognised the importance of the site and agreed to increase the grant offer so the next stage of works can be delivered.”

The funding is to complete the second stage of the restoration of the site, with the first stage already finished.

That involved the opening of an interactive visitor centre and education facility within the office and stable buildings, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Historic England.

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Comments for: "Shrewsbury Flaxmill: Regeneration will go ahead as project lands extra £7.9 million"

sidjones

i think they should just knock it down and save the money for people on benifits

whistleblower

This will bring new life to the area , new hope and preserve a part of history. Bring jobs and futures for many .

sidjones

there will not be many jobs its been going on years save the money

pipy

pity its taken so long ,hope a proper museum goes in here as well ,,like they have in York ,,Its good its being kept but at what cost ,,how much has the scaffolding cost ,,

value for money

Let's hope it gets finished it's been going for far to long, how many millions have been thrown at this project it's been going on since the eighties. Let's hope they haven't go the the same people who did the old music hall doing it as they needed a new floor within two years of millions being spent on it.

Let's hope their will be loads of jobs at the end of the saga !

'Owd Monner

All of the good stuff, the iron fireplaces for example were all robbed out in the 80's. Let's just say the subject came up when I was talking to a man about a dog ;-)

Terry

Doesn't sound like near enough to actually complete the project.

The ugly new theatre cost around £33 million in the end and was disgracefully funded by money from our selling council housing stock, money that should have then been reinvested in more houses for those on low incomes!

ejpl1179

It's not exactly a good advert for its building type is it? There are timber-framed buildings in town 300 years older that are still lived in, while this thing is a ruin.

How about carefully dismantling it, and re-erecting it in a structurally sound way somewhere like the Black Country Museum? That way it will be preserved, but won't be an ugly useless hulk that is preventing an area from being regenerated. Yes preventing: it makes the whole area look run down- if it was moved you could put houses, business parks, new roads or even a real skyscraper there!

Roger

A sky scraper made of wood? Towering inferno would have been a much shorter film if they were.

Oak beams char rather burn in fires so is much better in low rise buildings. The significance of the flax mill is that flaxmills used to burn to the ground regularly. The metal frame prevented the whole building collapsing so that fires could be contained. As a result they found they could build higher and the rest is history. The right sort of wood (Oak) is good for low rise, steel for high rise if you treat it and fire proof it. Horses for courses, but the Flaxmill opened up new options. This was the building that started off the ability to go high rise.

Some might not see that as good thing because it allowed Cities to get bigger on the same land area and created commuting which led to railways being essential because roads can not be fitted in to same space. It gave us modern life in the cities. It also caused the migration from rural areas to towns and then cities. Not everybody thinks that a good thing. Ironic that it should all start in Shrewsbury which is last bastion of rural living with a county town. No sky scrappers in Shropshire.

SYP

Nowhere NEAR enough. The building's already had a fund of 12 million and nothing to show for it other than a visitor centre and a couple of new windows. 7.5 million will be sucked into the bottomless pit within a few months..... It'll then be more than 10 years until another few quid lands at their door.

sidjones

knock it or burn down waste of money