Dalton Mills demolition ‘not currently necessary’

Thursday, March 17th, 2022 8:20pm

By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter

The remains of the historic part of Dalton Mills in Keighley, gutted by fire earlier this month, do not currently need to be demolished for safety reasons.

This is the view of a structural engineer sent to inspect the site by Heritage England late last week.

However, it will “take some time” for the future of the huge, damaged structure to be decided.
The mill, which was home to numerous businesses, caught fire at noon on March 3, and soon became one of the biggest fires West Yorkshire Fire Service has had to deal with in years.

Much of the building, which has been used to film period films and TV shows including Peaky Blinders, Downton Abbey and The Limehouse Golem, was destroyed.

In the aftermath it became apparent that in some sections only the walls of the iconic building remained, and to many it seemed a foregone conclusion that the building would need to be demolished.

But a recent inspection of the mill’s remains has revealed that the walls were “stable in the short term” and that demolition would not be needed.

Dalton Mill was built in the 1860s, and is Grade II listed.

The mill’s future was raised at a meeting of Bradford Council on Tuesday. Councillor Doreen Lee (Lab, Keighley East) said she was “heartbroken” about the fire.

She asked for a update on the building, and raised concerns that if the remains were unstable or at risk of collapse it could lead to further tragedy.

She was told that Heritage England, a public body that looks after the country’s historic buildings, had recently inspected the site, and was due to announce their findings soon.

Bradford Council yesterday told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that these findings have now been published.

A Council spokesperson said: “Our building control officers met with a structural engineer from Heritage England to assess the short term stability of the remains of Dalton Mills and to consider if demolition was necessary for safety reasons.

“It was decided that the main walls were stable enough in the short term so demolition is not currently necessary.

“The viable future of the building will require engagement from the owner, funding and a more detailed assessment before options can be considered.

“This will take some time.”

After the fire five youths were arrested by West Yorkshire Police following an arson investigation. All five are currently on police bail.

 

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