PART of the crumbling Bradley Mill complex could be saved and converted into apartments once regeneration plans get under way, Newton Abbot Town Councillors have been told.
Much of the industrial Bradley Lane area is up for redevelopment in what owners Teignbridge District Council brands the ‘NA10’ location within its Local Plan.
Specialists Lovell Partnership have been appointed by district chiefs to draw up a masterplan and on Tuesday August 8 they revealed their latest thoughts to a meeting of the Town Council’s Planning Committee.
Lovell’s Development Manager Diarmad Perry sought to allay fears, voiced widely on social media and in the press, that all of the historic mill buildings would be lost in the wider scheme which could deliver up to 111 homes.
He said the ‘abandoned’ Victorian building had become ‘a hotbed of unwanted invasion’, blighted by vandalism and with youngsters climbing the roof.
There were also concerns that the concrete first floor had ‘failed’ with water getting into the steel reinforcing rods.
He said: ‘It gets worse and worse. The worry for Teignbridge [District Council] is… somebody is going to become injured and there’s nothing they can do about it.’
Mr Perry and his colleagues said they could save part of the mill and had responded to calls from Teignbridge planning officers for higher housing density and reduced parking.
The meeting heard that the Guinness Trust wanted 40 homes for social rent, nine of which could be accommodated in the former mill, last used by Launa Windows as a factory.
But hopes of any further dwellings in the building were ruled out by prohibitive restoration costs and potential delays to bringing the road up to modern standards.
Mr Perry said the cost of what was being proposed for Bradley Mill had reached £3.5 million, three times the price of building from scratch.
He and his colleagues also warned that not everyone was likely to be happy with every aspect of the plans, which include reshaping the banks of the River Lemon to improve flood resistance and biodiversity.
‘It will ultimately have to be a compromise,’ the meeting was told.
Lovell has until the end of the year to produce its masterplan with Teignbridge Council reserving the right to seek alternative proposals.
Newton Abbot Town Council must be consulted but has only the power to comment.