Arsonists have been blamed for an attack on a £30m mill regeneration project in Slaithwaite today (Thurs) which could have reduced it to rubble.
Firefighters from Huddersfield and Slaithwaite as well as the police were called to the historic two building Globe Mills on Bridge Street at 8am.
Huddersfield Fire Station crew commander Ian Moxon said: “There was a small fire on the ground floor and luckily the ceiling between the ground floor and the first floor is made of concrete arches. If it had been timber I think the whole building would have been lost.
“We were there for around an hour this morning. We cut away some beams in the false ceiling.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “We were called by the fire service at 8.17am this morning to a commercial unit undergoing refurbishment which had been damaged by fire.
“It is believed suspects broke into the unit between 12.15am and 1am this morning and caused damage to the interior by starting a fire.
“Enquiries are ongoing into the incident and anyone who witnessed suspicious behaviour at the unit or who has information is asked to contact Kirklees Police on 101 referencing crime number 13180088494.
“Information can also be given anonymously to the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”
Work on the vast 19th century mill began in 2014 and the first stage was initially due to open in summer 2015 but was held back due to a revised planning proposal.
The mammoth project is set to include a doctor’s surgery, retail units, an artisan hall, cafe and office space.
It will also include an innovation centre whose shareholders include the University of Huddersfield which will rent space to technology-focused businesses.
The Globe One building, that sits nearest to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, is expected to be the first to open.
Dave Brescia, spokesman for developers Hartley Property Group which is spearheading the exciting scheme, declined to comment on the attack.
But he said he was hopeful that there would be a “summer opening this year”.
He said: “There’s certainly been a lot of interest. The University of Huddersfield is a shareholder in a venture on the top three floors.”
The company’s website says: “Hartley is working with 3M, the University of Huddersfield, and Kirklees Council to develop a large part of this site into an innovative technology business centre – transforming the Colne Valley into a business hub for the low-carbon economy.”
It says 170,000 sq ft of new business space will be available in the redevelopment.
The idea is to create a ‘Sili’-Colne Valley.