Ambitious plans to transform a decaying former mill building in Kirkstall into community-led social housing have received a £200,000 boost.
Kirkstall Valley Development Trust (KVDT) have netted the funding from Homes England to carry out a feasibility study into transforming Abbey Mills into a social housing development for older people
The largely empty Grade II Listed building, currently owned by Leeds City Council, has been allowed to fall into disrepair, which includes collapsed parts of the building and extensive water damage.
Chris Hill, from KVDT, said:
“Subject to due diligence, Homes England have awarded us the money to do all the surveying, architect and financial work to see if the scheme is viable. At the same time we will bring people together who are interested in living there to shape the plans.”
KVDT wants to create a community hub and heritage centre alongside a low car-use social housing scheme. A full business plan exists for the community hub and KVDT is in discussion with owners Leeds City Council about taking on the building in an asset transfer.
The deal with the council has been delayed because of a disagreement whether a new access road into the mill is needed. Council highways officers are saying the new access road is needed, while local residents and councillors are opposed. Mr Hill added:
“It hasn’t yet been resolved whether we will need a new access road, but we are more hopeful than a couple of months ago that we won’t. We have put forward our own simple scheme and continue to work with the council for a resolution.”
Read more of WLD‘s coverage of Abbey Mills here.
Public community space at Kirkstall Bridge
KVDT is also hoping to launch its first public space withing the next month at Unit 11 on the Retail Park, under Pure Gym.
The space will be held for exhibitions, meetings, workshops and other community use.
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