Former paper mill site redeveloped into new housing scheme

An eighteenth century paper mill in Otley has been redeveloped into a new homes scheme with the assistance of a £2m loan from the LEP, delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Garnett Mill was established in 1770 and used for paper production until 2005. After closure, the mill lay dormant for seven years until developer, David Wilson Homes, began work to transform the site back into a housing and community are.

Situated alongside the River Wharfe, the Garnett Wharfe development comprises 194 new houses, a 44 unit apartment complex and 2,000 sq ft of refurbished and new office space. It also features a riverside restaurant and a newly opened visitor’s centre.

The site also features a hydro-electric scheme, which has enabled the development to become carbon neutral on an offset basis.

In addition, work has gone into preserving wildlife habitats on the development with preservation of an otter holt, enhancements to a bat chamber and a fish pass at both ends of the weir to help protect local ecology.

The loan funding was used for the initial demolition and remediation, as well as helping to build a new access road, infrastructure and provide better riverside access for the public.

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am delighted that the LEP was able to help support the Garnett Wharfe development with loan funding. This is a great example of how loan funding can help kick-start economic regeneration in the Leeds City Region.

“It also demonstrates our commitment to reducing carbon emissions in the City Region, and to investing in our region’s amazing natural assets to improve our environment and people’s quality of life.”

Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, added: “I’m delighted that loan funding from the LEP has played such a key role in transforming this derelict brownfield site into a vibrant new development and visitor attraction for Otley.

“Not only does the new development help meet housing demand in the town, it also offers brilliant new opportunities for people to explore the local area and wildlife.”

Dave Hudson, Technical Director at David Wilson Homes Yorkshire West, also said: “We’re so proud of the site at Garnett Wharfe; it’s a beautiful home for people and wildlife, harnesses the natural resources of the area and celebrates an iconic feature in Otley’s history, while providing a home for many generations to come.”