Planners admit they have ‘no choice’ but to allow town mill to be turned into flats

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Planners admit converting an old Mansfield mill into flats will harm its heritage status, but say they have little choice if it is to be preserved at all.

The future of Hermitage Mill was decided by Mansfield District Council’s planning department recently who eventually gave it the green light to transform it into 25 apartments.

Just one of the 10 committee members voted against the plans.

Prior to the decision, a planning officer said: “Given the character and location of the site within a commercial area, the principle of residential development on the site would not normally be considered acceptable.

“However, in this instance it’s been demonstrated that residential is the only viable use to enable the refurbishment and reuse of an ‘at-risk’ Grade II-listed building.

“It is acknowledged that the conversion of the mill to residential accommodation would result in harm to the heritage asset and the proposed enabling development would result in harm to the setting of the listed mill, however the council has a statutory duty to ensure the long-term future of the building.”

The plans not include converting the mill, but building 32 one, two and three-bedroom homes in the grounds.

However, there has been no shortage of opposition to the plans, including Historic England who wanted to find a ‘sustainable use’ for the mill, and the Environment Agency who said the land lies within flood zones.

The Georgian Group pointed out that the council had previously said building was not suitable for residential purposes, and this was backed by the Hermitage Mill Trust which had outlined a grand vision in 2014 to convert the mill into a heritage centre.