A RESIDENT of a canal side former mill in Skipton has described as ‘absurd’ plans to ‘turn back the clock’ and repaint the currently red window and door frames of the listed building a dark ‘satanic mill’ grey.

Brian Lister, who lives in one of the 31 apartments in Victoria Mill, says the approved colour - Anthracite Grey is no more than an imagining of what the building would have looked like during the industrial revolution, and that times have changed.

But, the mill’s management company says the colour was chosen to reflect its industrial heritage, and that during the planning process, there were no objections from any of the residents.

Mr Lister said: “It has been decreed that the colour of the new windows must now be Anthracite Grey a colour selected as being the imaginary original in the age of the ‘dark satanic mills’ of the industrial revolution.

“It seems an absurd decision to now try to turn the clock back and impose such a condition when, not only was it unlikely that the windows were ever painted dark grey, but we have moved on somewhat with the changes which have been made since the building’s listing in 1978. Shouldn’t the owner occupiers have been given a voice in the choice of colour of the new windows and door.”

The mill was built in 1847 as a corn mill and later converted to a paper mill. It was listed in 1978 and in the 80s was part of an award winning housing scheme, which saw the inclusion of doors, balconies and a new entrance, by Skipton architects, Wales, Wales and Rawson.

The original cast iron windows were green, repainted red between 1950 and 1978 and have remained so ever since, even when the original frames were replaced with timber ones as part of the redevelopment in the 1980s, says Mr Lister.

A spokesperson for the directors of the management company said: “The directors took the decision, following a meeting of shareholders, that the existing timber windows are in a poor state of repair, costly to paint and thermally inefficient and it was important that a scheme for their replacement in powder coated aluminium was prepared that would stand the best chances of gaining listed building consent and planning approval to ensure that the windows could be replaced as needed.

“A dark grey colour scheme was chosen to reflect the industrial heritage, and is a colour that Craven District Council has been supportive of on other historic buildings in the area including Eller House and Firth Mill in Skipton, and Horace Mills in Cononley During the listed building application process, the council’s heritage consultant expressed support for the use of the grey windows, stating the colour scheme would reintroduce an industrial aesthetic.

“During both the listed building application and planning process the council would have consulted all residents and no objections to the applications were received from residents of Victoria Mill.”