New co-operative formed to drive development at historic borough mill

The Leigh Spinners Mill Community Benefit Society (CBS) has been founded to oversee the development of Mill One at the listed site on Park Lane.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Friday, 21st May 2021, 10:36 am
Jo Platt, Tom Dalton, Farai Nhakaniso and Paul Costello

The organisation says setting up on a co-operative basis will enable it to use the expertise of its members and also give Leigh residents more of a say in how the building is used.

The CBS is focusing on potential uses of Mill One for purposes related to improving health and wellbeing, digital access and boosting training and skills in the town.

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“We also want to engage with people outside the mill so they have a say in the decisions made about Mill One.

“A co-operative is answerable to its members and can also get help from the wider movement.

“It’s also about going back to Leigh’s roots. The co-operative movement was founded in the North West as Rochdale was its birthplace. It re-establishes those links which I think need to be embedded again in Leigh.”

Ms Platt is one of the CBS’s four directors alongside Paul Costello, Tom Dalton from Leigh Hackspace and Farai Nhakaniso from Everything Human Rights.

Peter Rowlinson, the chair of Leigh Building Preservation Trust (LBPT) which is the landlord for the entire Leigh Spinners Mill, is also involved in an advisory capacity.

Members of the new organisation include The Pelican Centre in Tyldesley, DMR Training and Consultancy, a couple of gyms and True Colours CIC which supports people with autism and learning disabilities.

But while the members are bringing their expertise to the table Ms Platt says she is also keen to hear from Leigh residents about what they would like to see at the mill.

She said: “The health and wellbeing and sports focus, the digital focus and the skills and training element are all things that we can start exploring.

“It’s about thinking more widely alongside LBPT about what the whole of Mill One can be.

“We also want to do a community consultation for people to say what they think Leigh needs and for us to understand that and feed it into the strategic planning.

"We should let the people of Leigh shape what goes on here.”

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