An outline application by owners Historic England relating to brownfield land surrounding the site and the historic Apprentice House building has been granted this week by Shropshire Council, meaning it can be redeveloped for housing.
Historic England is also aiming to make the most of the former Shrewsbury Canal towpath, and allow for its potential future restoration, though Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust has criticised current plans.
Planning consent was first granted for the brownfield land in 2011 but expired this year.
Historic England says the new housing is an intrinsic part of regenerating the whole 2.7 hectare site, and that any profits from the sale of the land to a developer will be re-invested into the repair and rescue of the remaining historic buildings at risk at the Flaxmill Maltings.
Alastair Godfrey, project lead for Historic England, said: “This decision brings us another step closer to realising our vision for the Flaxmill Maltings to be a thriving hub where communities can come together to work, visit, learn and live.
"We look forward to seeking a developer next year, who will work with us to achieve this vision and produce a design scheme which will complement the historic surroundings, while demonstrating the same innovation and forward-thinking which brought about the internationally-significant Main Mill.”
The renewal application included indicative designs for how a future housing development within the Flaxmill Maltings site could or might look, but detailed designs and a full planning application will be made following the appointment of a development partner next year.
The outline planning consent proposed that housing is built in alignment to the former canal’s tow path, to reinstate housing where it always was historically and reinforce the canal line as the site’s principal landscape space. The renewed plan sets houses back from the main road while keeping the visibility of the Flaxmill Maltings’ skyline and the upper floors of the Main Mill from Spring Gardens.
The magnificent views of the historic buildings from Marshall's Court and St Michael's Street junction and along Spring Gardens will remain.
Marianne Blaauboer, manager of the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings said: “We fully supported Historic England’s application to renew the planning consent for housing on the land surrounding Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings. Housing was very much part of the historic landscape around the Flaxmill Maltings and we are sure that Historic England will appoint a developer who will build quality homes, to high environmental standards, which support the vision for the site.”
The restoration of the Grade I listed Main Mill and the Grade II Kiln at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings is currently taking place thanks to a £20.7m grant from National Lottery players through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, combined with additional funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership via its Growth Deal with Government, and from project partners Historic England, Shropshire Council and the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings.
The revitalised site will become a new learning and enterprise quarter for Shrewsbury, with high quality offices for the region’s growing creative industries that will help drive the town’s renaissance as a regional economic hub, as it was when Shropshire led the way in the Industrial Revolution.
There will also be a new visitor experience managed by the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings and a café open to the public.
The Main Mill and Kiln at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings will open in spring 2022, with the new visitor experience and café opening on the ground floor and the top four floors available for commercial tenants.