Breathing new life into historic mill

Business Finance to help create business park for SMEs

Cleator Mills, near Whitehaven, has quite a history.

Built in 1800, it played a significant role in the development of rights for women workers when poor conditions and pay led to a strike by the female workforce in March 1915.

At one time it employed 600 people and became the home of Kangol, which was manufacturing around 120,000 berets a week. When manufacturing moved to China the mill closed in 2009.

Reward’s clients, Mark Walker and Andy Ross of Gener8ed Limited, had managed the site for the previous owners for ten years and were given first option to buy the mill when it came up for sale.

Having fallen into disrepair, the two of them spent around £400k on demolition and clearance of part of the site, the replacement of all mains services, and the repair and renewal of river flood defences.

They are now moving onto Phase One of transforming the former mill into a business park, bringing new jobs to the area.

To enable them to do so, Reward has provided a £500k Business Finance loan which is to be used for further demolition and the refurbishment of redundant single storey workshops at the east end of the site.

When complete the units will provide between 6,000 and 8,000 square feet of quality light engineering workshop space, suitable for SMEs in the local area.

Interest has been high for the units from nearby Sellafield’s local supply chain companies, and Mike and Andy are confident they will be let on completion.

They will then begin Phase Two, which will comprise the refurbishment of one of the former mill buildings to provide a mix of workspace and flexible offices. The larger of the three buildings has the potential to create a café and conference facilities on the ground floor.

Speaking about the development, Andy Ross said,

“We would like to thank Reward Finance Group for buying into our vision, seeing the enormous potential for the mill, and providing the funds to enable us to turn it into reality.”