Union Mills, Eccleshill, Bradford
Robust stone industrial mills and pond to make way for a Lidl:
A large amount of Victorian industrial building stock is to be lost for the expansion of Lidl’s empire.
A thesis could be written about the insidious colonisation of deprived areas by Lidl. Bad for health, the economy, culture, and the environment. Not wanting to digressing into sociological territory, I will try to summarise why this is a crime against conservation.
The mills of Bradford are being lost at an alarming rate, with the local authority not seeing the value (and being powerless) in retaining humble buildings such as Union Mills. What these buildings add to the local landscape is invaluable; punctuating the rolling countryside with implications of former industrial prowess. We diminish the essence of a place when we remove its history.
Particularly objectionable is the infill of the mill pond. Blue infrastructure is normally celebrated and protected. Not only for its value in biodiversity, but for the public who enjoy it as a destination for walking and angling.
The existing buildings function perfectly well. They are adaptable, and can be used for a variety of industries looking for different sizes of space. They provide economic opportunities that are vital for small businesses in the area.
The buildings that will replace them do not have these qualities. Lidl could very easily retrofit the existing complex for their purposes, but their rudimentary economic models can not integrate such innovative strategies into their expansionist masterplan. Cleared sites only please. And no architects. Shame on you Lidl.