Re-use of an eighteenth century former textile mill following public consultation; Gayle Mill has been converted for small scale industrial water powered wood working and use as a training facility.
Gayle Mill is a C18th water powered mill containing important machinery which has gone through a series of different production uses including cotton, textiles and timber. Early C20th electricity generating machinery also survives, along with the water management system, which is also scheduled along with the building (Grade II*).
The retention of original machinery prevents conversion of Gayle Mill to non-industrial use. Other issues relating to the site included local feeling about the future of the mill and the desire to retain skills.
The Trust who now owns the mill has held public consultations in determining future use of the building. The strategy to overcome these issues was re-using the machinery to train woodworkers, and to allow this to be used in a small scale not-for profit scheme to return the mill to working order. The former owner is one of only a very few number of people who know how to operate the machinery. His expertise will be retained through the training courses and programmes that the mill will offer through Craven College. It is thought the project should enable the mill to ‘wash its face’ economically.
The case study of Gayle Mill shows a consultative approach to finding solutions to long-term buildings at risk and also the possible viability of retaining the original function of a place. Re-use can insure not only the physical preservation of the fabric of a place, but can also maintain the social connection and community value of a place.