Plans to develop historical flax mill considered
Plans to redevelop a historical former mill left derelict for two decades could be approved this week.
Ditherington Flax Mill in Shropshire was the world's first iron-framed building when it was built in 1797. The site is now owned by English Heritage.
Shropshire Council will consider on Thursday whether to approve plans to turn it into a mix of offices, homes and community space.
The council said the plans were "further along" than ever before.
Various possible sources of funding have been explored for the development, including Heritage Lottery Funding.
'Modern day standards'
English Heritage and architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios have been working together with support from Shropshire Council, English Heritage, Advantage West Midlands and the Homes and Communities Agency.
Richard Lawrence, who is in charge of the project for the council, said: "It's really frustrating as I understand there's been two or three developers that have come along in the past and just not made it stack up.
"So it does need some kind of public sector intervention, that's what we're trying to do but we really are further along the line than we have ever been.
"We do have a planning application going to committee this week and if we get approval for that we are certainly further down the line than we ever had been and we have a masterplan for the whole of the site."
He said because of the condition the building is in, a lot of work would be needed to update it.
"Because it's so sensitive and historically special, it means that any solution isn't particularly straight forward," he said.
"It's been derelict since the 1980s so there has been a lot of wear and tear and also it's 200 years old and there's an awful lot of work that needs to be done to bring it back to modern day standards."