“WE’RE trying to build a community”.
That’s the view of the team behind Blakeridge Mill Village, the impressive development which is taking shape just outside Batley town centre.
Commuters, shoppers and locals won’t have been able to miss the hive of activity just off Mayman Lane, as new life is breathed back into the 150-year-old mill complex.
Binks Developments, who have owned Blakeridge Mill since 2004, have more than 80 tradesmen and women on site converting eight former industrial buildings into apartments for up to 500 people, once the project is completed.
The Blakeridge Mill Village concept is the brainchild of well-known businessman Richard Binks, who has sympathetically redeveloped a number of former industrial sites in the district, including Ledgard Bridge Mill in Mirfield and Sprinkwell Mill in Dewsbury.
The 10-acre JT & J Taylor textile mill site employed 2,000 people in its heyday but had been left derelict in recent years. The original mill was built in 1863 and extended in 1913.
Mr Binks said: “We’re huge fans of Batley and we’re contributing a lot to the local economy.
“So many Batley people have a story to tell about these mills, we want to do them justice.
“This site is a real gem and each building has a different story to tell. It’s very special and uplifting. We can see why people are queueing up to rent here.
“Investment of this scale will encourage other businesses to invest in the people of Batley as I think that success breeds success.”
Several of the buildings have been completed – one as far back as 2007 – and scores of people from across the region are now calling Blakeridge, and Batley, their home.
Work continues on a number of residential buildings and an access road, originally planned as part of a now-mothballed supermarket scheme, is nearing completion.
Years of planning application bids and a failed deal with Netto to build a store on spare land at the top of the site have not dampened the Binks family’s devotion to the Blakeridge project.
Mr Binks’ daughters Harriet and Hannah run the on-site rental agency, called Raspberry Lettings, and they share their father’s passion.
Harriet said: “We’re trying to build a community here, which is closely linked to Batley. We have great physical links into the town and residents work at lots of local employers, such as Fox’s Biscuits, Dewsbury Hospital, Tesco, local schools and the Junction 27 retail parks.
“It’s a great mix of people with lots of professionals and young families, and we put on community events for everyone to get involved in. People stay with us for a long time.
“We were very disappointed that Netto did not materialise, especially when we had spent vast sums of money on the planning process. But we have a waiting list for new tenants and we’re becoming a real rental destination.”
Another planning application was submitted by Binks Developments last week to create 104 apartments, leisure facilities and management offices on the lower floors of Blakeridge Mill itself.
By spring 2017 the developers aim to have a swimming pool and gym on site for residents’ use, with the whole project hopefully finished by the end of that year.
For rental details contact Raspberry Lettings 01924 474058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.