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Derelict mill in the Holme Valley could become a foodies' heaven

25 new jobs planned for revamp of Woodlands Mill at Thongsbridge into a major destination for foodies

Woodlands Mill, Luke Lane, Thongsbridge, Holmfirth.

Job-creating plans have been tabled to turn a disused mill in the Holme Valley into a major destination for foodies.

A new lifestyle company called Devour is seeking approval from Kirklees Council for a mixed-use manufacturing and retail development at Woodlands Mill at Luke Lane, Thongsbridge.

The development, which is the brainchild of Olivia Robinson, former creative director at nursery brand Mamas & Papas, will feature food production, a restaurant, an Italian delicatessen, a cookery school and a barista café.

The company hopes to have the business up and running before Christmas 2018 and employ about 25 people.

Olivia, who has also worked as a creative brand consultant for companies including Liberty of London, said the aim was to inspire families back into the kitchen to cook together and eat together with an accent on Mediterranean cuisine.

Along with producing and selling food such as pastas, ice cream and pizza dough, the idea was to welcome local schools to take part in cookery sessions and be “part of the Devour experience”.

Woodlands Mill comprises a two-storey stone built mill and separate dyehouse. It was last used by a wood-turning business before owners David Lockwood an his son Clive put the property up for sale about two years ago.

Olivia said a previous buyer who wanted to develop the site for residential use had pulled out, enabling Devour to acquire the property.

She said she planned to retain the wood working the machinery still in the mill along with its flooring, lighting and roof beams.

“It is an absolutely gorgeous mill,” she said. “It would be a refreshing change to see previous historic manufacturing sites developed by a new generation of entrepreneurs looking for support on projects other than residential development.

“The concept will inevitably provide employment and sustainable development to the local region.”

Mark Lee, of One 17A Architects, which has designed the scheme for Woodlands Mill, said: “We have really bought into the concept behind this project and worked closely with the client to develop the brief and use the existing buildings to their best capabilities.”

He added: “It’s been a positive process so far and we very much hope the local community and council can get behind the scheme.”

The delicatessen will draw on independent suppliers including Dough-to-Go, a pizza dough supplier developed through Delvita, a company co-founded by Olivia to supply wood-fires ovens and accessories.

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