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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Plan for 79 homes on former clothing factory site

A former clothing factory and its grounds could make way for a major housing development.

Cleator Moor Kangol photo
Kangol site

Plans for 79 new homes on land north of Cleator Mill in Cleator Moor have been unveiled.

The site earmarked for the project is home to the old Kangol factory – the clothing manufacturer’s original headquarters when it was built in 1938.

The scheme, which includes proposals for offices, is still in its earliest stage but Copeland councillor for Cleator Moor David Banks says it has already sparked controversy in the community.

He said: “There are three applications – one for the mill itself, one for the housing, and one for the outlying buildings on the site.

“It [the proposed development] has the potential to be pretty big but there has been mixed feelings about it.

“A lot of people are wanting the more modern factory buildings there to be torn down and the old sandstone mill to be restored.

“We are hoping one of the applications will include that.”

Mr Banks added that the Environment Agency had classified the land earmarked for the housing as a flood risk.

But he says the area hasn’t flooded since defences were first installed by Kangol in the late 1930s.

He added: “It has flooded downstream of the mill in 2009 but the area for housing has not been flooded at all.”

Mr Banks also revealed that the new homes would most likely be targeted at high earning nuclear industry workers.

“The houses which have already been built nearby are modern and costly and these [new homes] may be the same,” he said.

“They will probably be aimed at people involved in the nuclear industry wanting a nice home locally because there is a shortage of that kind of thing.

“Myself and Dave Riley, my running partner on the council, have been pushing for this for some time.

“We were originally looking at a mix of housing and light industrial use but I have no idea if this is what will go through.

“We encourage anything that will bring employment to the area because there is a desperate need for that.”

The former Kangol factory, built by company founder Jakob Spreiregen, opposite St Mary’s Church, closed in 2009 when the firm ended its association with the town.

Before the factory became operational a working flax, linen and thread mill stood in its place for many years, employing about 600 workers.

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