OWNERS of a Belper furniture shop have been told to restore the town’s historic East Mill to its previous state after they carried out building works without permission.
Brand Interiors has been told by Amber Valley Borough Council to put the works right after builders took out windows and a doorway, replacing them with modern versions at the 100-year-old World Heritage Site.
The alterations were carried out despite strict planning rules which govern listed buildings such as the mill, which was was built by the English Sewing Company in 1912.
Now Brand Interiors has applied for permission to replace the new doors and windows, but has had its application was ‘returned’ after planning officers decided they wanted more information.
This week Belper Mayor Cllr Mark Robertson, said: “It should be returned to the condition it was in. If this was done without planning permission then the borough council are only too right to follow it up.
“We need to keep the mill as it is – it’s in a World Heritage Site and we don’t want to destroy anything that would affect that status.
“Alterations of any type to the mill must stay within planning permission instead of people just going ahead and changing things.”
The large East Mill and the smaller North Mill are preserved as part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site – the only site in the East Midlands to have been awarded such prestigious status.
Other areas to have received such recognition include the likes of Stonehenge and the Tower of London.
Built in Accrington red-brick, the seven-storey building has various attractive features such as four corner turrets and an Italianate tower.
The council has the option of pursuing legal action against Brand Interiors for carrying out works without permission at the protected site, but has opted instead to work alongside the owners, who have been co-operating with officers from the authority.
Assistant Director for Planning and Regeneration at Amber Valley Borough Council, Derek Stafford, said: “We’re fully aware of the issues in this case and are currently in the process of considering a planning application for the necessary works to replace the doors and windows back to the original style in keeping with the building.”
The Belper News contacted the Brand Interiors head office in Burnley, however a spokesman for the firm declined to comment.
The company sells name brand products at discount prices and also has outlet stores in Shipley, Stoke-on-Trent and Cambridge.
The mill was still used by English Sewing until 1985 when the company were tempted by Government funds to move to Glasgow to a new ‘enterprise’ zone.
Since then much of the premises has been taken over by different businessess and organisations, including Brand Interiors.