Historic mill to be demolished in Burnley centre to make way for shops

The view down Hammerton Street towards the crown court
The view down Hammerton Street towards the crown court

Historic buildings are to be demolished after Burnley Borough Council granted planning permission for a new retail unit to be built on Hammerton Street.

The application was passed at a meeting of the Council’s Development Control Committee despite objections from national heritage societies and the Ministry of Justice.

A semi-derelict sawmill complex dating back to the Second Industrial Revolution would be knocked down and replaced with a new 6000 sq. ft. unit.

A report placed before the Council’s Development Control Committee suggested that the new retail unit would help begin the “process of bringing another important area of vacant and redundant land” to “productive use” and would “likely to lead to further growth and job creation”.

Objections from historical societies and neighbours – including the Ministry of Justice, which occupies Burnley Combined Court, the property adjacent to the site – were assessed and ultimately dismissed.

The Ministry of Justice raised concerns regarding the ease with which they could transport prisoners to the court and, during the demolition process, noise disrupting the court.

Historical England also objected, saying that buildings relating “to the industrial development of the town” being knocked down.

In 2008 the society published ‘Conservation Principles’, which identified four principal heritage values local planning authorities must consider when assessing applications. These were Evidential, Communal, Historical and Aesthetic values.

Historic England objected to the Hammerton Street application because it would have an adverse effect on “one of the finest surviving industrial landscapes in the country”.

Despite these concerns, construction will go ahead within three years of the decision and after the local planning authority approves demolition and construction statements.