Planning permission was granted in 2019 to redevelop the landmark five-storey mill on Standish Street in the town centre to create 48 new dwellings.
That would have involved the demolition of both wings of the early eighteenth century building – with the central core and chimney being retained – and three new floors added to the western side of it.
However, the scheme has now been rethought, with the number of apartments reduced to 30 – and more of the original structure left standing.
Under the fresh proposal, approved by Chorley Council’s planning committee, some low-level elements to the east of the building will still be flattened, while a “modest” single-storey extension will replace a similar existing feature at the rear, with a two-storey building to fill a gap at the back of the plot.
Although not a listed building either locally or nationally, the history of the mill means it is considered a heritage asset to the borough. A survey of textile mills carried out a decade ago by what is now Historic England, concluded that it was “one of the oldest steam-powered cotton mills in the country”.
It most recently operated as a printworks, but has developed a “neglected” appearance and also caught fire, the planning committee heard.
Cllr Danny Gee said that the plans would “regenerate an area that has become a bit rundown”.
Fellow committee member Martin Boardman said that he was “delighted” with the proposed scheme.
“To have 30 residential apartments in Chorley town centre is an absolutely fantastic thing to happen.
“It will increase footfall and [boost] our night-time economy, which I know all of us want to get back to when we come out of lockdown.
“Let’s see a few more of these [developments] coming forward – it would be great,” Cllr Boardman added.
Planning officers concluded that the new proposal represented an “honest approach” by distinguishing “between the original building and the new extensions – and overall provides a more sympathetic approach to the conversion of the building than the [previous plan]”.
Brunswick Mill, within the same site, was recently the subject of a successful application to convert it into commercial units – although there is less of the original part of that building remaining than there is of the Standish Street Mill.