Yobs bring historic Bath Mill to its knees
Emergency powers were used to demolish an historic building at the weekend after numerous thefts, arson and vandalism attacks left it in a perilous condition.
Building Control Officers from Mansfield District Council feared that the listed Bath Mill off Bath Lane, Mansfield – which dates back to the early 19th century – was close to collapse and posed a very serious risk to the general public.
After vandal attacks on the building intensified in the previous week, the structure of the building was in such a dangerous condition that the Council was left with no option but to use its powers under Section 78 of the Building Act and order immediate demolition.
The owners of the building, who have been working alongside Mansfield District Council to protect it to the best of their ability, must now pick up the costs of the demolition work.
The redundant mill was granted planning permission to be converted into apartments in 2005 but has been the subject of numerous vandalism attacks in recent years. These attacks have intensified in the last week to include:
- Theft of steel props which held up precarious building joists
- Four fires, thought to have been started by local yobs
- 90 steel window shutters ripped off within hours of being erected
- Bricks thrown at security guards, contractors and fire and rescue workers while they were on site
- Youths regularly scaling a chimney to access the building on the second and third floors
Coun Kate Allsop, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration at Mansfield District Council expressed regret at the loss of such an important historic building but backed the decision to demolish it.
She said: "It's sickening to see part of Mansfield's history reduced to rubble in this way but ultimately the Council was left with no choice but to order the demolition. There was a very real possibility that someone could be injured or even killed because the building was so close to collapse.
"I have great sympathy with the building's owners. They have worked with the Council and invested heavily in trying to protect it but their best efforts have been ruined by the actions of an idiotic but determined minority of thugs."
Coun Danny McCrossan, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection at Mansfield District Council said: "The attacks on this building and people working within it are absolutely disgraceful. We will do everything we can to help the Police in identifying and punishing those responsible for damaging this historic building to such an extent that it has now had to be demolished.
"I would urge anyone with information about those involved to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 with information. We can't bring the building back now, but we can at least send a clear message that behaviour like this is totally unacceptable and will not go unpunished."
Bath Mill was originally a water mill, built at the turn of the 19th century for Richard Hardwick and was used for the making of cotton and lace before being converted for use as a hosiery mill in 1880. It was a Grade 2 listed building.