18 March 2010

Vulnerable Empty Property: Now Entering Second Decade

There was recently another fire at Torr Vale Mill.  The wrangling over this property, and interference in the owner's proposals for sensitive restoration, is fast becoming reminiscent of two bald men fighting over a comb.

The works closed in 2000.  Plans were set out for the mill's complete refurbishment, financed mainly by an enabling development of new homes on the owner's adjoining land.

The local anti-development brigade stepped in - this was in the year 2002 - and the new houses were vetoed.  This meant that the project to restore the mill could not go ahead.

A few years later, metal thieves were apprehended leaving the site.  Birds have taken up residence high up in the structure.  The latest fire - a conflagration of the entire mill was only stalled in the nick of time - was earlier this year.

It's now got a tree growing out of the brickwork, as well as various other vegetation breaking up the structure.

All of these problems have one root and they stem back to the year 2002:  in certain parts of High Peak at that time, the attitude was that everybody's got 'rights' apart from the actual owner.

Photograph 'Torr Vale Mill' by Karl Sinfield.  Exhibition website http://www.walkinghome.co.uk/

Karl Sinfield's Commercial Design website:  http://sinfield.org/