Plans for former mill revealed

A ‘masterplan’ for the future of the Caerlee Mills site in Innerleithen will be submitted to the council tomorrow (Friday).

New owners CWP, a locally- based development company, has plans to create a mix of useson the former mill premises, including residential and business use.

The firm bought the site in February this year and have engaged with the community, the council and Historic Scotland about their overall plans.

St Boswells-based planning consultant Tim Ferguson said: “A planning application and listed building application will be lodged with the council on Friday.

“The two applications are seen as the first phase in the site’s redevelopment masterplan which will have two distinct parts, the ‘mill quarter’, which respects the historical past of the site and will entail the retention and restoration of the Brodies Mill, boiler house and chimney, and a new residential development to the south and west of the site.

“It is hoped that the applications will be determined by the end of the summer, after which the second phase and detailed development plans will be worked up and when it is hoped that interested parties for Brodies Mill and the boiler house will be in place.”

Some of the buildings on the site have existing permission for demolition, while others must be retained.

Mr Ferguson added: “Effectively within the mill quarter and the boiler house there will be potential for a variety of uses.

“We don’t have potential end users as yet, and are looking for people to come forward.

“It is a big site, and the mill is a big building, and we are conscious of putting things in reality. There have been broken promises in the past, so we want to do this properly, and that is why we have engaged with the local organisations.”

Talks have already taken place between the developers and the community council and community trust.

Mr Ferguson said: “We want to maximise the uses of the site and that not only helps financially but will also be of most benefit to the local economy.

“We want a strong mix of uses and have a vitality and buzz around the place.”

He added: “We want to engage and listen to the local community about their thoughts on what we are doing and also hear any ideas they have.”

Scotland’s oldest mill closed in March 2013, after beingplaced in provisional liquidation. That followed a management buy-out of JJ & HB 1788, which went into administration with the loss of 132 jobs in 2010.

Mr Ferguson said issues such as contamination, asbestos and the maintenance of historic buildings had put off many potential buyers since March 2013, but added that CWP was fully committed to the site’s redevelopment.