‘Cramped’ aparthotel plans at arson-hit Swallow Mills rejected by council

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Swallow Hill Mill
Fire: Swallow Hill Mill. Photo: Mark Stevenson

By John Baron

Plans to transform a former Wortley mill building into serviced apartments has been rejected by council planners.

Wakefield-based developer Ivan Smith, of PH Tong Road Ltd, wanted to transform arson-hit Swallow Mills, on Tong Road, into accommodation offering short to medium low-cost stay for contract workers and visitors needing short term accommodation for longer than a day or so.

But council planners refused the application, which offered 52 aparthotel rooms, amid concerns over ‘cramped and contrived’ room sizes.

A planning officer’s report refusing the application concluded: “The proposal fails to provide suitable standard of living space for future occupants owing to the cramped and contrived room sizes and internal layout, poor outlooks from some of the units on the ground and third floors, absence of quality communal areas to foster social interaction.

“It also fails to consider how guests with mobility issues gain access to the proposed development across multiple floors.”

A design statement submitted by developer had argued: “The brand in serviced accommodation we have developed is known as ‘Deuce’. We are now successfully running this concept at The Old Post Office in Warrington. The concept is for beautifully decorated internal environments of manageably small living quarters for a short to medium time frame. Each suite has a king-sized bed, a shower-room ensuite, a seating area, workspace and a small kitchenette.

“This concept is proving to be very much in demand for contract working people and a preferred option compared to soulless motorway hotel rooms.”

The plans can be viewed in full here.

Separate plans to convert the first, second and third floors at empty Swallow Hill Mills into 18 apartments were approved by the council in January. The ground floor is not intended to be changed in use and developer Mr Smith says it will be let to a suitable tenants, such as a nursery. Read WLD‘s report from January here.

The mill building has been subjected to a number of arson attacks, and WLD put the building’s history in the spotlight back in January 2022.

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