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Too intensive, too destructive

That's the damning verdict from the Victorian Society on plans to convert Gloucestershire's iconic Stanley Mill into a housing development of up to 150 homes.

The Victorian Society and the Georgian group strongly believe the plans are too intensive and too destructive. Both organisations have written to Stroud District Council to express concern over the proposals.

The main building of this historic 200-year-old mill complex is listed at Grade I, marking it out as being of exceptional national importance. Many of the surrounding buildings are Grade II-listed and the whole site is designated as a Conservation Area.

'The interior of Stanley Mill is extraordinary, on each floor are rows of highly decorative cast-iron columns; part of the building's pioneering 'fireproof' construction. They create dramatic internal views that will be lost forever if the mill is divided into modern apartments', said Robert Bargery, Secretary of the Georgian Group. 'We support the regeneration of the site as most of the buildings are currently empty and at risk, but a much more sensitive approach is needed'.

The owners have applied to carve the listed buildings up into a total of 76 flats and houses, and to demolish all the nineteenth century weaving sheds in order to build an additional 70 homes on the cleared land.

'The weaving sheds are evidence of an important part of the cloth-making process. Demolish them and the history of that process is lost ', said Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'Buildings of a similar date and type have been converted into offices or shops at other mill sites and it's difficult to believe there is no alternative to demolition at a site as important as Stanley Mill.'

Under the plans the historically significant engine room will also be partially demolished and converted into a bin store. A new factory will be built to the north of the site, as well as six detached houses around the neighbouring mill pond, known as Ryeford Lake. The owners say that the level of development is necessary to fund the restoration of the mill buildings.

The Victorian Society and the Georgian Group are urging Stroud District Council to refuse permission for this application.

Wednesday 23 June, 2010

More recent item: Iconic Edwardian fire station set to become luxury hotel
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