Long running Hilden Mill saga at an end?

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One of Lisburn’s most iconic landmarks, the Hilden Mill complex, has been sold to an English development company.

The 24-acre site has been bought by a company which is associated with the Warwickshire-based St Francis Group, the BBC is reporting.

Hilden Mill, which has been empty for almost a decade since Barbour Threads closed in 2006, had been earmarked for a number of different regeneration schemes, which failed to materialize.

Clanmil had signed an option agreement with NAMA for the purchase of the site, with plans to create 600 homes, as well as recreation and retail opportunities.

Clanmil said it made an unsuccessful offer for the site before the option deal expired.

Speaking to the Star outgoing Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson: “I am delighted that a major U.K. development company has now come forward to purchase the Hilden Mill site.

“This site has the potential to provide space for several hundred new homes in the city as well as regenerating one of our most historic industrial locations right beside the Lagan Canal and transforming it into a vibrant residential and recreational hub for Lisburn.

“I hope to meet the new owners shortly to discuss their plans for the site and the timescale for the redevelopment of Hilden Mill.

“I will also be meeting the Council as a key stakeholder who will wish to exploit the recreational opportunities that come with this site, including the re-opening of a significant section of the old canal.”

Local UUP Councillor Alexander Redpath told the Star that the heritage of the site must be respected during the redevelopment.

He said: “I note the transfer of ownership of Hilden Mill. I believe it is of vital importance that the site is developed in a way that respects the rich industrial heritage of the site.

“The site suffers from regular vandalism and anti-social behaviour. The best way to overcome this is the speedy development of the site.”