Hunslet Mill and Victoria Works have been given new hope for the future as new plans have now been approved for the two Grade II listed buildings.
Two landmark buildings will be saved as part of new plans approved by Leeds City Council. Hunslet Mill and Victoria Works have stood empty for decades, but hopefully this won’t be the case for much longer, because plans for their regeneration have now been officially signed off – and it’s not just the building themselves that are set to be rejuvenated.
The two buildings have a rich history, stretching back nearly 200 years. The three storey, Grade II* listed Victoria Works came first – it was built in 1838 as a flax mill for WB Holdsworth and was deserted in the 1970s. Next door, the imposing seven storey, Grade II listed Hunslet Mill was completed in 1842, when it was used as a flax mill for John Wilkinson, but it has been out of use since 1966.
Both have stood tall over the past five decades, but the years of neglect have taken their toll and they’re now on Leeds Civic Trust’s Heritage At Risk list. The good news is that Leeds City Council have been working with site owners Evans Property Group and Caddick Developments to make the most of the existing planning permission on the site, which approves 699 dwellings as part of a mixed use development – talks are now ongoing to bring the scheme forward.
The plans for Hunslet Riverside are part of the South Bank’s ongoing regeneration – and as such, it won’t just be the buildings themselves that get a bit of spit and polish. Leeds City Council are committing to improve connectivity between Hunslet and the city centre. This means enhancing pedestrian and cycle facilities, as well as building a new car-free bridge across the River Aire. They’ve also committed to improving public transport and the public realm, as well as looking for new opportunities to put derelict buildings back into use.
Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis explained why regeneration goes way beyond mere bricks and mortar, “Regenerating the area through new jobs, homes and businesses is important, but it is vital that there are also the supporting elements needed to make it a well connected and attractive place where people and families want to live and visit.”
For too long, Hunslet Mill and Victoria Works have been neglected, but these new plans will bring them back to life, helping to reconnect Hunslet and the city centre in the process – as far as we’re concerned, it can’t come soon enough.