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Monday 20 June 2016

Council contractors begin demolition of dangerous mill


Demolition contractors have begun a step by step process to dismantle the centuries old Bossons Mill, in Congleton.

Acting under emergency powers, Cheshire East Council has commissioned the work because the building, also known as Brook Mill or Big Mill,  has become unsafe after years of neglect from the owners of the property.

Scaffolding has been erected and slates are being removed from the roof of the seven-storey former silk mill.

The derelict building has stood empty and neglected for 20 years.

A structural engineer’s report found the 200-year-old building, which was once a landmark in the town’s rich industrial heritage, was in a dangerous state and could collapse.

The mill is Grade II listed and therefore the Council has consulted with Historic England, the organisation that works to preserve the country’s heritage

They have said that they can understand the Council’s position and regret that the building has to be taken down.

Cheshire East Council is acting in the best interests of neighbouring residents and businesses, who are living and working in the shadow of the old brick edifice, which is in such a state of internal and external decay that it could crumble at any time.

The entire programme of works is predicted to take 81 days and special protection measures will be put in place across the brook, which runs alongside it.

Further protection will be positioned over adjoining buildings, including residential properties.

The first phase of work will begin with dismantling the structure by hand and, when this phase is complete, mechanical demolition of the remaining structure will begin in August, when all other preparations and surveys have been undertaken.

Cheshire East Council has commissioned DSR Demolition to carry out the works, who have indicated they will keep the town council and residents informed every step of the way.

In order to minimise the disruption to local residents and businesses, the Council and the contractors are consulting with Congleton Town Council to minimise any inconvenience likely to be caused, especially on market days.

Currently, the programme of works extends to the end of September and that will include clean up of the site and removal of materials.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “I want to reassure the people of Congleton that Cheshire East was left with no alternative but to take this action for the safety of the town and our residents.

“We have made numerous attempts to persuade the owners, Kitewood, to make this building safe but its ongoing neglect has caused the building to become so dangerous that we have to demolish.

“I want to reassure our residents that we will explore every avenue to recover all the costs the Council is currently faced with.”

Councillor Paul Bates, Cabinet member for communities and health, said: “As a Congleton ward member, I am very disappointed that the owners of Bossons Mill, have stood back and allowed this Grade II listed building to become a dreadful eyesore and a blot on the landscape of the town.

“It is a great pity that a building of this character with its place in the history of Congleton should be lost in this way.”

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