Photographs capture inside £25m Stonebridge Beck development

Work is under way at the Stonebridge Mills site in Farnley. Photo: John Baron/

Words & photos: John Baron

These are the first photographs of building work on a new £25 million housing development at historic Stonebridge Mills in Farnley.

Stonebridge Mills played a key role in the development of Farnley and Wortley, dating back to the early 1800s when the water-powered woollen mill was a focal point of the local community.

Work on the first phase of the development should be completed later this year.

Despite being in some form of industrial use for around 150 years, the site has been derelict for many years, with the mill buildings, some of which are Grade II Listed, falling into disrepair.

The old mill cottagesbehiond the mill pond are being converted into homes at Stonebridge Beck.

Work started 18 months ago on a £25 million housing project to regenerate the site, with a development called Stonebridge Beck.

It includes 82 new homes as well as the regeneration of the grade II listed and long-derelict former woollen mill buildings and cottages, which is creating a further 30 homes.

New homes being built in the former mill building. New steel beams have been installed to make the building secure.

Tim Reeve, MD at co-developers Advent Developments, told WLD that the existing buildings had needed extensive restoration works to make them stable, with the main mill buildings essentially gutted inside, with the structure reinforced by huge steel girders, which will be hidden from view when the development is completed.

A new roof is also being built, albeit using existing recycled tiles.

“Sadly there had been significant deterioration. The roof and windows leaked, the wooden insides had become rotten,” Mr Reeve said.

“When we’ve finished it, it will look like it did when it first opened in the 19th century, but inside it will have all the benefits of a modern, energy efficient and high performance new build inside a historic building.

“Even the windows will look the same, but be high-spec double glazed and energy efficient.”

Under construction: One of the loft bedrooms in the former mill building.
One of the planned bedrooms in the old mill.
The large windows are modern, but will convey 19th century style.

Mr Reeve said preserving the heritage of the site was particularly important, and pointed to the preservation of the historic mill pond as an important feature.

A view of the mill pond and former mill cottages from the main mill building.

Advent is building the development alongside Rushbond PLC and Caddick Construction.

Busy site: Work is ongoing to restore the main mill building.
Two historic towers on the site are being retained by developers.
Looking up the extensive nine-acre site in Farnley.

Stonebridge Beck will feature a collection of converted and new build homes will be available ranging from two to five bedrooms, all offering high-quality accommodation with private gardens and parking.

The new houses near the mills use traditional materials to reflect the setting of the historic buildings.
Inside one of the new show homes.
Inside one of the new show homes.

WLD reported last month that the new showroom had opened at the development. Last week WLD featured plans for a new public sculpture capturing the past and future of the site with an artwork called Embrace.

The high-profile semi-rural site, off Stonebridge Lane and the Ring Road, was once the subject of plans by supermarket giants Tesco for a new store.

Follow WLD‘s ongoing coverage of the site here.


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