Holmes Mill is unveiled

Bowland Brewery sign being installed. (s)
Bowland Brewery sign being installed. (s)

One man’s vision of transforming one of Clitheroe’s most historic buildings into a modern multi-purpose leisure space for the community will this week come to fruition.

Holmes Mill will open its doors to give a tantalising first glimpse of some of the hard work which has gone into restoring and breathing new life into the Grade II listed buildings over the past two years.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times reporter Katie Hammond on site at Holmes Mill with Heidi Kettle of James' Places. (s)

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times reporter Katie Hammond on site at Holmes Mill with Heidi Kettle of James' Places. (s)

The project has been masterminded by owner, local business man and entrepreneur James Warburton.

This weekend will see the first stages of the ambitious scheme, which will create more than 150 jobs, revealed in the form of the new home of Bowland Brewery and the beer hall.

The rest of phase one, to include the large entrance hall and shop, ice creamery, bakery and multi-use function room should be completed in time for the Clitheroe Food Festival on Saturday, August 13th.

Phase two will then include the hotel, bar and grill and food hall before moving on to phase three for the gym, urban spa and pool, with a view to all renovations being completed by this time next year.

All the work undertaken has been completed by local businesses, crafts and trades men where possible, with all material taken out of the original buildings re-used and recycled to form much of the impressive interior, such as corrugated metal from the roof forming a unique dado and chandeliers in the beer hall and wooden floorboards used to clad the 106 foot bar – the longest in the country - a style described by the designers as “opulent industrial”.

The project’s journey has not been an easy one and has taken many twists and turns.

As the Clitheroe Advertiser exclusively reported back in February, an unprecedented swell of public support ensued after council planners threatened to prevent proposed renovations going ahead.

More than 1,100 people signed a petition calling for the work to go ahead, after the scheme was again deferred at a second planning meeting, with traffic movement and parking cited as their main concerns. The plans were finally given the green light in March.

Mr Warburton, who at the time praised “democracy and people power” when he thanked all those who had been so vocal in their support, said: “We are absolutely delighted and a little bit relieved to be opening the first phase and are very much looking forward to meeting everyone who has given us such massive support throughout this whole process. We can’t wait to let them see what has only been achieved because of their backing.

“I would also like to thank each and every person involved in the transformation of this big, old building – without their passion and efforts, none of this would have been possible at all. I give them my genuine and heartfelt thanks.”