Derelict paper mill site transformed into sustainable housing development and visitor attraction with LEP support

11 February 2019

Loan funding worth £2 million from the LEP, delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has helped transform the site of an 18th Century Otley paper mill into new homes.

David Wilson Homes Garnett Wharfe development, situated alongside the River Wharfe, is now complete and has proved a huge success. The site, includes 194 new houses, a 44-unit apartment complex and 2,000 square feet of refurbished and new office space. It also has a riverside restaurant and a newly-opened visitor centre.

Carbon neutral

The loan funding was used for much of initial demolition and remediation, as well as helping to build a new access road, infrastructure and provide better riverside access for the public. Uniquely the site features an innovative hydro-electric scheme, which has enabled the development to become carbon neutral on an offset basis.

Significant work has gone into conserving wildlife habitats on the development with preservation of an otter holt, enhancements to a bat chamber and a fish pass at both ends of the weir, to help protect local ecology.


Quality of life

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: "I am delighted that the LEP was able to help support the Garnett Wharfe development with loan funding. This is a great example of how loan funding can help kick-start economic regeneration in the Leeds City Region. It also demonstrates our commitment to reducing carbon emissions in the City Region, and to investing in our region's amazing natural assets to improve our environment and people's quality of life."

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: "I'm delighted that loan funding from the LEP has played such a key role in transforming this derelict brownfield site into a vibrant new development and visitor attraction for Otley. Not only does the new development help meet housing demand in the town, it also offers brilliant new opportunities for people to explore the local area and wildlife."


Iconic feature

Dave Hudson, Technical Director at David Wilson Homes Yorkshire West, said: "We're so proud of the site at Garnett Wharfe; it's a beautiful home for people and wildlife, harnesses the natural resources of the area and celebrates an iconic feature in Otley's history, while providing a home for many generations to come. I have been involved in the development since the early stages so seeing the final outcome is really exciting."

"Garnett Mill was established in 1770 and used for paper production until 2005. After closure, the un-used mill lay dormant for seven years until developer, David Wilson Homes, began work to transform the site back into a vibrant housing and community area that celebrated the fantastic riverside location."

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growing Places Fund provides loan funding to kick-start stalled development or infrastructure projects that will create jobs and other economic benefits in the Leeds City Region.

Repaid loans are reinvested in projects that will support economic growth and communities in Leeds City Region, providing an ongoing, sustainable investment stream. To date projects supported by loan funding have created 824 jobs, delivered 693 homes and remediated 90 hectares of land.