Owners aim to breathe life back into Brownhill Bridge Mill

Date published: 04 December 2023

Owners of Brownhill Bridge Mill in the Dobcross area of Saddleworth have announced plans to restore the 18th century dilapidated mill site and create 11 luxury holiday apartments.

Plans have been revealed in conjunction with the launch of a website, which has more details on the proposed scheme and offers the public the chance to share their thoughts with the proprietors.

Brownhill Bridge Mill is a staple landmark in Saddleworth’s industrial history and is believed to date back to 1772.

The site is thought to be one of the earliest mills in the area to survive from this era.

However, it’s future remains uncertain unless redevelopment is granted to protect the building from being lost.

The development will create 11 self-contained holiday apartments, complete with 23 parking spaces to cater to holidaymakers and visitors.

The proposed development will restore the dilapidated grade II listed mill building and replace the poor quality, later added extensions with a newly designed ‘wing’ building.

The replacement of the extensions will provide accommodation in a new structure that will better reveal the most historic parts of the building, whilst being more sympathetic to the building’s industrial heritage.

Overall, the proposed extension will be smaller in size than the previous extensions the mill has been subjected to.

The scheme would also benefit from a woodland nature garden, designed to create a haven for wildlife, bring guests closer to nature and play a small part in tackling the current climate emergency.

Plans include the creation of new habitats, such as bird houses, hedgehog homes and bee hotels, along with wild flower gardens and carefully chosen vegetation to encourage wildlife into the garden.

The owners, two local brothers, appointed HNA Architects and designers at My Secret House to help develop the scheme and set out with the main aim of preserving and protecting the historic site from extinction.

Michael from HNA Architects said: “As a local practice we take special pride whenever we are involved in projects in our home town, and this will be a fantastic restoration project for Oldham.”

Deborah, of My Secret House, added: “There aren’t many buildings surviving that reflect the area’s rich industrial heritage and so projects like Brownhill Bridge Mill are really quite special.”

The proposal includes a ‘space for enterprise’ within the lower-ground floor of the mill site.

‘The Hub’ at Brownhill would offer a space to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity, whilst bringing trade back into the once lucrative and bustling mill-site.

During the week The Hub would open its doors as a co-working space, encouraging entrepreneurs to meet new faces, grow their network and promote cross-industry conversations.

The public will be able to hire a desk to work from on a daily basis – a popular concept in major neighbouring cities like Manchester and Leeds.

At the weekend The Hub would transform into a makers-market with the hope of bringing creative trades back into Brownhill - a site once steeped in its own creations.

The space aims to provide a platform for micro-entrepreneurs and creators to show and sell their wares at the historic canal-side location.

Owners Stephen and Martin Hill said: “We’re excited at the prospect of opening the mill back up for the community to enjoy too.

"Not only do the plans create jobs in the local area, they’ll bring trade, entrepreneurship and creativity back into Brownhill.

"It almost feels full circle – being able to bring commerce back through its doors!”

Plans have been submitted to Oldham Council and the owners are encouraging the local community to share their thoughts via the ‘contact us’ page on the website.

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