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The Future of Beehive Mills, Bolton

For some time now we have been advising Bolton Council on future plans for Beehive Mills following the submission of an application for listed building consent for their demolition. We have done all that we reasonably can to challenge the decision which grants listed building consent for the demolition of these wonderful mills, including requesting that the Secretary of State calls the application in, so that the decision can be made by an independent Planning Inspector.

Exterior shot of Beehive Mills, Bolton taken from street level.
The massive Beehive Mills in Bolton © Historic England

Conditional consent given

Having commissioned surveys into the site’s economic viability we recognise that there is a huge gap in funding to make the conversion financially viable, a situation which is unlikely to reduce significantly in the medium term. We have therefore agreed to a condition on any consent - that the buildings would only ever be demolished if the works to construct the replacement housing were ready to start on site and a contract for their construction signed. The Council has yet to determine the application for listed building consent, but can now do so following the decision of the Secretary of State not to proceed to Public Inquiry.

Challenges and opportunities

This exceptional case illustrates the challenges that we face in managing our industrial heritage in places where market demand and values are low. These mills offer around 500,000 square feet of space and we are happy to discuss any opportunities that might arise for keeping the building.

Photo across large open empty interior on one floor of Beehive Mills, Bolton.
Typical floor-space of the interior of Beehive Mills, Bolton © Historic England

We know from our research, and from the fantastic examples around the country, that mills can successfully be converted into attractive apartments, let for industrial uses or turned into leisure facilities. We will continue to champion the reuse of our textile mills, which have shaped the special character and landscape of Greater Manchester.

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