Hope for 200 jobs as mill plan is backed

Ena Mill at Atherton with owner Simon Yates
Ena Mill at Atherton with owner Simon Yates

A bold plan to transform a landmark mill further and so create up to 200 jobs has been given the go-ahead.

Wigan Council’s planning committee approved Ena Mill’s application for new shops, a restaurant, function rooms and more than 40 apartments.

Work is expected to begin at the Atherton venue within weeks with bosses hoping to have the new retail units open by September. The expansion will bring every corner of the historic mill back to life, with the shops and cafe currently restricted to the ground floor of the grade-II listed building.

Bosses at the Flapper Fold Lane site spoke of their delight at approval, saying the renovation work was vital both for the mill and for Atherton’s economy.

Simon Yates, one of the partners at Ena Mill, said: “It’s fantastic news. This is a major development and we’ve spent a lot of time making it work.

“We’ve run consultations for the residents and ensured our traders are happy as well as keeping the building in its character.

“Creating the jobs and employing local people is what this is all about. It’s not just setting up the place, it’s long-term work. I’m a local lad and I understand how massively important it is to keep the town alive. This is the big one for us and we are really excited to get this through.”

Mr Yates says one of the first tasks will be to carry out engineering work on the building, including installing escalators between the ground and first floor.

The expanded retail destination will mostly be on the first floor, with the second used for storage and two storeys of apartments above that.

The plans include turning the boiler room into a restaurant and creating function rooms and museum facilities in the old engine house.