THE future of an iconic former mill could be secured if a housing scheme on the site is given the go-ahead tonight.
Persimmon Homes wants to convert the derelict Ainscough Mill, in Burscough, into 50 apartments and build 66 new homes on surrounding land.
The Mill Lane site proposals would see some of the later extensions to the Grade II listed main mill knocked down, while the company also wants to convert the nearby chimney house and Grade II-listed mansion house into a further six apartments as part of the development.
The former steam- powered mill dates back to 1858 and is defined as “at-risk” by English Heritage.
A planning application for 58 apartments at the mill and 52 houses on the surrounding land was originally submitted in 2005.
Planning permission was refused, and then granted on appeal – but the scheme never got off the ground.
In 2010, Persimmon was granted permission to begin demolishing parts of the mill and mothballing works to prevent further deterioration to the main structure.
Objectors have criticised the project scheme on grounds of noise, traffic, safety, the risk of flooding and the inability of the village to sustain the scale of the “overbearing” development.
In a report to the planning committee, borough planner John Harrison said the deterioration of the listed buildings had become an “ever-increasing concern” to the council and the site owner.
He stated that the current application “provides a best practicable solution” to achieve a “sustainable end use of the listed buildings.
Cllr Brian Bailey, of Burscough Parish Council, said the scheme was the only real solution to preserving an iconic building in the area – and wasn’t vastly different to the one that won the appeal.
The report recommends delegating the decision to approve the scheme to the borough planner, in consultation with the chairman and vice-chairman of the planning committee, subject to a further bat survey at the site.