Windsor palace really works!

Reporter: by Martyn Torr
Date published: 26 August 2009

A DECAYING Victorian mill has been transformed into plush homes and offices to kick-start the regeneration of Oldham.

Most of Windsor Works, in Gravel Walks, Mumps, has been snapped up by tenants to make it vibrant with life and enterprise once again.

The £1.5m-plus project is seen as setting the standard for the regeneration of an area earmarked by the Oldham Beyond report as key in raising the profile for Oldham.

The two-storey building has been turned into 10 residential apartments and two floors of commercial office space by Heywood firm Dalby Developments Ltd.

The development retains and enhances many of the original features including the existing brickwork, steel beams and original maple-wood floors.

Eight of the 10 apartments — five in the original building and five new penthouses with mezzanine floors — are currently let and two are awaiting completion of agreed sales. Three quarters of the commercial space is let.

The whole of the first floor is occupied by Web Applications UK, an internet business with more than 30 staff which has relocated from the Hollinwood Business Centre.

Leeds-based homecare business Domus Healthcare — which took over Helpful Hands, the second largest provider of homecare in Oldham, employing more than 70 people, has taken part of the ground floor.

The last remaining ground floor unit, with its own entrance, is being actively marketed by chartered surveyors Ryder and Dutton.

Oldham Council leader, Councillor Howard Sykes, said: “The Windsor Works has attracted high-value business investment and provided premium apartment living near the town centre.”

Nick Wright, of Dalby Developments, said: “We are delighted to have returned a decaying building to life providing modern living and working at the heart of the Mumps Bridge community.”

And there are further economic benefits for the immediate area. Local car mechanic Roy Anderson is offering a while-you-work car service, the mill employs a local window cleaner, a local company provides stationery and photocopying services to the commercial tenants and a local business — within walking distance of the development — has produced signage for the site.

The council wants Mumps to become an area for prime investment. Metrolink, which will arrive in Oldham in the autumn of 2011, has been a key driver in securing both the residential and commercial tenants.

The existing railway line between Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale is being converted to tram tracks and will provide easy access to the whole of the network, with Mumps earmarked for a Metrolink stop. Windsor Works also has the attractions of being within walking distance of the town centre, a 49-space car park and a super-fast Virgin broadband access to modern, high-speed internet facilities.

Web Applications UK has arranged an official opening followed by an open day on Friday next week at 2.30pm. E-mail