The development of Kirkstall Valley Park is starting with Abbey Mills.
Abbey Mills is a 30,000 sq. ft. Grade II listed mill that lies just south of Grade I listed Kirkstall Abbey and is owned by Leeds City Council.
The Abbey Mills complex consists of a number of mill buildings dating back to the early 16th Century. The mills were rebuilt after a fire in 1797 and by 1847 most of the present buildings were in existence producing corn, oil and woolen cloth.
During early 2017 we successfully raised £40,000 in community shares to provide development cash for Abbey Mills. Since then we have also raised £25,000 from Heritage Lottery and the Architectural Heritage Fund to work up our plans.
Our work has demonstrated that, if successful with a Heritage Lottery bid, we will still only be able to raise enough capital to undertake work on the Abbey Rd block , creating a community hub and heritage centre of about 7,000 sq ft and moving on to develop the courtyard (the old stables) in the future.
The Council undertook a marketing exercise of Abbey Mills at the end of 2017. Nine developers expressed an interest. The Trust is interested in all options and potential partners, but want to work with a company able to bring social benefit to the area. We are seeking an asset transfer of the Abbey Rd block and courtyard to the Trust but some delay has occurred because of a disagreement whether a new access road into the mill is needed (council officers – yes, councillors and community, no).
Once this is resolved, a report should go to the Executive Board of the Council agreeing the transfer in principle. A brief will then be established in discussion with councillors and the Trust to develop the remainder of the mill and put out to tender.
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