A VAST historic landmark mill which has stood derelict and boarded up for a decade is set to be redeveloped.
After months of discussions, a joint partnership agreement has been formed between the owners of London Mill in Ashbourne Road, Leek, and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
The aim is to bring the 161-year-old building back into use, potentially as a mixed use of business start-up units, residential and retail.
The mill was part of the Brough Nicholson and Hall silk manufacturing complex and was built in 1853, and employed 630 people at its height.
The building, which fronts Ashbourne Road, consists of four storeys and was Grade II-listed by English Heritage in April 1991.
Agent Nathan Ezier, whose family owns the building, said: "We have done development work in Manchester and now we want to share the idea for Leek.
"Working with the council in a recognised partnership will help us to look at a viable scheme for the former mill. The partnership will unlock the situation and help to regenerate the mill as we could not do it alone.
"This building stands on a gateway to Leek and has lots of potential. There is confidence in making this project viable.
"The family are delighted that things are now moving forward and want the premises brought back to life."
Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Councillor Sybil Ralphs, who also has the responsibility for regeneration, said: "The council has been working hard in the background to bring us to this point, and it's great to be able to share our progress with everyone.
"It's the latest development in Leek's renaissance – we are now seeing millions of pounds of investment coming into the town.
"We have the improvement works on Derby Street and the public realm, which are now nearing completion.
"The Premier Inn opened this week, the multi million pound development at Leek College is on schedule and the town continues to attract household names such as Waitrose and other multi-nationals."
"London Mill lies on one of the major gateways into the town and this focus on bringing it back into viable, commercial use is exciting.
"It's a huge project that will benefit Leek in both the short and long term and have a positive impact on so many people.
"It's been a long held ambition of the council's to see this architecturally important heritage building returned to an appropriate use, but we recognise that we can't do it alone.
"This partnership approach to regeneration offers us the potential to unlock many things that the council couldn't do alone, and I'm very much looking forward to exploring the possibilities over the coming months."
Executive director at the council, Dai Larner, said that following the agreement being signed last week, a partnership approach to bringing back the mill into use can now move forward.
He said: "This mill will be an extension to the Premier Inn development and will improve the town.
"The first thing is now to get a project together which is commercially viable.
"There are a range of ideas for the mill, such as business start-up units along with some residential."
The council has identified various streams of funding for the project including help from the county council, local enterprise board and the authority's own growth fund.
Funding for the growth project could also to be raised from the Leader Programme and Prudential Borrowing, along with a Government assisted area funding programme.
The council is also now able to keep a percentage of the money it collects from business rates.