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Mill sale set to ease cash crisis

A MILL is to be sold off to raise much-needed cash to help plug Hyndburn Council's £1.8M black hole, it was revealed this week.

UP FOR sale... Premier Mill in Great Harwood.
UP FOR sale... Premier Mill in Great Harwood.

A MILL is to be sold off to raise much-needed cash to help plug Hyndburn Coun-cil's £1.8M black hole, it was revealed this week.

The Premier Mill off Windsor Road, Great Har-wood, has been put on the market in a bid to help the council balance its books before April.

During a meeting of Hyndburn's Cabinet, councillors heard the sale would leave the council, which has already implemented a number of cost-cutting measures, facing a deficit of only around £200,000.

But council leader Peter Britcliffe vowed the mill - which is currently owned by Hyndburn and Barnfield Partnership Development Ltd - would not be sold for a "rock-bottom" price.

Plastics firm Aquarius, which already has premises in Great Harwood, has expressed an interest in purchasing one of the buildings on the site. The other building has been earmarked for redevelopment.

Councillor Britcliffe told Tuesday's meeting: "The dissolution of the Hyndburn and Barnfield Partnership would give the council some very significant funds to plug the deficit and, at the same time, restore confidence in the council.

"Myself and all the Cabinet members have been concerned for some time that we need to minimise the impact on services, jobs and council tax.

"Perhaps this is the best news I have managed to bring ages. Things are looking better and I would say to the public that we are aiming to keep our promise of keeping council tax low."

But Councillor Malcolm Pritchard, who has been allowed to remain on the Budget Panel as an independent following his shock resignation from the Labour group last week, said: "I hope the council is not going to let this building go on the cheap just to get out of a hole. We need to keep hold of our assets.''

Allaying his fears, Councillor Britcliffe said: "You can be assured this will not go at a rock-bottom price. The way it has been handled will add a stimulant to Great Harwood. It's good for Hyndburn, for the workforce of the council and for the public."

Mr Nigel Rix, who is director of the council's regeneration arm Hyndburn FIRST, said the former Brooke Bond Oxo mill was bought by the partnership around 10 years ago to sustain employment when the Globe Works in Accrington was closed.

He said: "Platt's took over the mill and we were able to let out some of the space. We have had textiles, engineers and auto repairs in there.

"We have now been approached by a firm which is keen to expand its business and take on extra staff. The other mill, which is smaller, has been vulnerable to vandalism and arson. Local people are keen to see that site re-developed in some way."

He added: "We have retained profits from the last 10 years and are looking to raising several hundred thousand pounds."

The council would receive 30 per cent of the profits from any sale and Barnfield 70 per cent.


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