Ditherington Flax Mill in £11.6m restoration bid

Artist's impression of the Ditherington Flax Mill The project is expected to see seven listed buildings restored on the flax mill site

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An £11.6m lottery bid to fund repairs to a Shrewsbury mill has been backed by Shropshire Council.

The Grade-I listed Ditherington Flax Mill was the world's first iron-framed building and is considered one of the most important on the English Heritage At Risk register.

The Heritage Lottery Fund gave its initial support for a multi-million pound bid in May.

The organisation is expected to make a final decision in July.

If successful, Shropshire Council said work could start in September, with it possibly opening to the public in 2016.

The project would see seven listed buildings on the site restored, including the main mill, the dye and stove house, and the kiln.

The plans feature public access areas and commercial space that the council said could support hundreds of jobs.

Emergency repairs

The main mill, built in 1797, is considered the forerunner of the skyscraper, because of its use of a cast iron frame, rather than timber.

It was converted into a maltings for the brewery industry in 1886, before finally closing in 1987.

More recently, emergency repairs have been completed at the site by English Heritage, which acquired it in 2005.

Last year the Heritage Lottery Fund provided £465,300 to allow detailed plans to be put together for the restoration, describing the building as of "international importance".

The scheme is being led by Shropshire Council, English Heritage and Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings, which are expected to submit the bid by the end of the month.

A decision on an application for a further £6m from the European Regional Development Fund is also expected to be made in the summer.

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