Monday, September 5, 2011

News: Rotherham's Rank Hovis mill is toast


The iconic Rank Hovis flour mill in Rotherham looks set to be demolished.

The multi storey facility at Canklow was constructed in the late 1960s with further additions up to the 1980s. Premier Foods, the owners of Rank Hovis, closed the mills in 2008 due to the production of flour in the area not being viable due to over production capacity within the group. The adjacent distribution centre remained in operation.

Plans have now been submitted to determine whether prior approval is needed for the demolition of concrete framed structures on the site. The plans were submitted by ASC Contracts Limited, a Renishaw company that specialises in preparing brownfield sites for redevelopment.

However, due to the site being larger than 0.5 hectares, full detailed plans for the demolition will need to be submitted. The plans state that the configuration of the buildings does not allow for anything other than the milling of flour on the site, and as such, demolition is necessary to bring the site back into use and prepare it for possible redevelopment works.

The freehold site was put up for sale by Premier Foods last year with a guide price of £1.2m. The site covers approximately 1.93 ha providing a total floorspace of approximately 163,400 sq ft.

Crispin Stephenson, who is leading the project for ACS Contracts Ltd, said: "We hope to use the site for storage in the short term and we will apply for a change of use to B2/B8 to enable general industrial and storage and distribution uses.

"We have been talking to a number of developers about a range of uses for the site including housing, and we have partners who are looking at business units. It is a bit of a blank canvas really."

According to the South Yorkshire Archaeology Service, historical maps show "Town Mills (corn)" on the Canklow Road site, indicating a long history of milling. The Ordnance Survey map of 1854 labels the building as "Old Brewery" and it is unknown if milling occurred alongside this or earlier.

Documents detailing the history of the Feoffees of Rotherham set out that "land in Canklowefield "on windmill hill"" was leased to Richard Milner, a maultster, in 1672. Leases of the Sheffield Estate mention John Taylor of Canklow Mills when he leased land from the Duke of Norfolk in 1783.

Records also show a John Jackson of Canklow Mills in 1839, and Charles Garfit of Dunlee, co. Cork. leasing "land with Cornmill called Canklow Mill", in 1886.

"Canklow Mill from the railway bank" is an oil painting by C Boocock in 1857 that depicts a locomotive in the foreground with the mill in the background. It is in a collection at the National Railway Museum.

ACS Contracts Ltd website

Images: Premier Foods / CBRE


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