Regeneration Proposals, Eagley Mills, Bolton

Eagley Mills was at one time the largest Cotton Spinning site in the town. It comprised of four large mill structures of different architectural character and quality set within a river valley. The site flanked both sides of the Eagley Brook providing ideal natural resources that were the hallmark of the Industrial Revolution. The inevitable decline in the Cotton Industry in East Lancashire resulted in the demise of this magnificent site. It was said that everyone in the town knew someone or had a relative that had worked at Eagley Mills. It was the heartbeat of Bolton’s once mighty industrial presence.

For many years the mills stood vacant, resoundingly illustrating the state of the economy and the Country’s post war industrial decline. As a practice we were always aware of the enormous potential of the site, particularly due to this riverside location and rural setting. We were therefore pleased to be appointed by the owners to undertake a design review and appraisal for the redevelopment of the site, which was constrained by greenbelt issues, limited access and significant social and economic problems.

The appointment was initially a Masterplanning exercise exploiting the untapped potential of the River Valley culminating in the design work for the conversion of the buildings into residential and commercial use and the introduction of new riverside housing, studios and workshops.

The success of the development proposals was the design approach in that we designed the new build dwellings to look as though they were simple conversions. This successfully reinforced the character of the setting through compatibility of design and sensitive detailing. The application was well received by the Local Authority and Planning Permission was readily forthcoming, particularly because they recognised the proposals as an opportunity for consolidating the Historic context with the regeneration initiatives we proposed to introduce.