Peterborough’s Whitworth Mill owners outline early hopes for development

The new owners of Peteborough’s Whitworth Mill have spoken of their hopes for the historic building.

By Paul Grinnell
Monday, 17th May 2021, 5:02 am
Whitworth Mill, East Station Road, Peterborough.
Whitworth Mill, East Station Road, Peterborough.

Developers Lioncross Whitworth, of Surrey, bought the 19th century Mill and surrounding land two months ago after the premises were put on the market for a second time by Peterborough City Council.

Now the new owners have revealed that they area taking to two design companies about possible uses for the four-storey, 22,642 sq ft Mill and the surrounding 1.41 acre site, which sits on the banks of the River Nene at Fletton Quays.

And while the developers say that all possible uses are being considered they have ruled out the creation of a boutique hotel, which was a central feature of the proposals of an earlier prospective buyer, Samsons, of Bedford, who pulled out of the sale shortly after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The regeneration of Fletton Quays has been on the council’s wish list for more than 30 years and the completion of the Mill refurbishment will leave just one plot left to develop.

But the revamp of the Mill is awkward particularly as it is home to about 35 bats of various species that have taken up residency in the tunnel under the building.

There are also believed to be four species of bat active within the vicinity of the mill.

Mike Craddock, director of Lioncross Whitworth, said: “We are considering all the options that were part of the original package that was put to us as options for the site, so nothing at this stage is ruled in or ruled out.

“I do believe the previous buyers of the site had mooted the possibility of a boutique hotel option but we gather they did not think it would be viable and from our initial discussions I think we would concur with them on this.

“Ideally we would love to have a planning application in by the end of the year, however it is just too early in the process to know when we would be ready to submit.

“As ever with large schemes of this nature the consultation period can be protracted.”

Mr Craddock added: “We realise it is a building and site of undoubted local interest and part of the final stage of the regeneration of the Fletton Quays project which has had such significant investment.

“At this stage we are in discussions with our two architect firms to look at how best to develop the new build as well as the conversion element of the Mill Building.

“When we acquired the site the council via their consultants had proposed a number of possible options and we are looking at these alongside our own designers ideas to help bring vibrant new buildings to this prime waterfront location.”

A council spokesperson has previously said: “All bats are protected and this legislation has been incorporated into our planning policies.”

There are believed to be around 30 Daubenton bats and a small number - about five -common pipistrelle bats roosting in one of the tunnels beneath the building.

In addition, there are around four species of bats that have been found to be active within the vicinity of Whitworth Mill.